Business Roundup (January 28)

By The Irrawaddy 28 January 2017

Burma is set to increase exports of farmed eels to Japan under a new joint venture deal.

Under the agreement between Anawa Devi Fishing & General Trading Co-op in Burma and Japan’s Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo, the firms will farm level-finned eels, Kyoto News reported. Level-finned eels are consumed in Burma but have not been commercially farmed in the past, said Anawa Devi chairperson Toe Nandar Tin.

Daiichi—a Japanese taxi operator which has diversified into finance, real estate, and other businesses—is set to invest US$1 million in the project, according to the agreement. Anawa Devi will provide land, research and other basic infrastructure which will start on a 1-hectare plot of land in Rangoon’s Dala Township, according to the report.

Japan is one of the world’s biggest consumers of fish.

Investors Targeted Burma in 2016, Plan to Invest More

Burma saw a range of mainly Asia-based private equity funds, investment firms, venture capitalists, and development organizations seeking deals in the consumer, technology and financial services sectors in 2016. The pace of activity looks set to step up in 2017, according to DealStreet Asia.

Delta Capital Myanmar, which began as a partnership between Hong Kong-based Simon Murry & Company and Serge Pun & Associates, is about one third of the way through the process of raising a $100 million second private equity vehicle this year, according to the report.

Delta Capital’s first fund, called the Myanmar Opportunities Fund I, raised about $50 million and made five investments in oil, gas, alcoholic beverage manufacturing, an internet service provider, and a PET bottle manufacturer. A sixth deal for an internet service provider is in the works.

“The beverage market in general and alcoholic and non-alcoholic segments are growing by 20 percent year on year right now,” said Dominik Burckgard of Delta Capital Myanmar.

For Delta’s second fund, a major deal is likely to be in the consumer space, Burckgard told DealStreet. Typically, Delta Capital makes an average $6-$9 million investment in a company in exchange for a 10-40 percent stake, company officials said.

Anthem Asia, which describes itself as an investment holding company, has made nine investments in Burma’s small and medium enterprise sector in the last few years. In 2016, it invested in the Rivo Tech digital agency and the Rangoon Tea House group. It is also an investor in the Thalon International School.

Another player in 2016 was the Myanmar Investment Group, the report said. It took a 40 percent stake in Paradiso Cinema Co., a joint venture with local company Maze, which plans to construct 100 cinemas around Burma.

Burma Woos Tourism Investors at Singapore Forum

Burma called for more investment—and for responsible and sustainable investment—in the country’s tourism sector during the week-long ASEAN Tourism Forum 2017 which concluded in Singapore this week, Travel Daily News reported.

“The timing couldn’t be more perfect to invest in Myanmar as it opens up to the world,” Minister of Hotels and Tourism U Ohn Maung told participants at the forum. “We have fantastic tourism destinations that need to be served with world-class hotels and resorts, unique travel experiences, and better infrastructure.”

The government is working on creating opportunities for preferential treatment of investors in the tourism sector, the report said.

The minister is also a proponent of community-based tourism, which has the potential for significant income-generation for local people. In early 2017, example projects include the Thandaung-gyi B&B project and an eco-tourism project at Indawgyi Lake in Kachin State.

According to figures from the tourism ministry, foreign direct investment in Burma’s hotel and tourism projects reached almost $3 billion in 2016. Singapore was the top investor, followed by Thailand and Vietnam. As of November 2016, foreign direct investment had generated 56 projects in the tourism sector, up from 48 projects in 2015.

Nissan Car Assembly Underway in Burma

Nissan has started assembling its Sunny model car in Burma, according to a statement from Nissan and Tan Chong Motor Myanmar (TCMM) this week.

At present, the cars are assembled at the existing Tan Chong facility in Rangoon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township, but the company will open a new assembly plant soon in Bago.

TCMM called the start of production “a milestone” in the company’s commitment to expansion in Burma. TCMM is the local subsidiary of a Malaysian company and has sole rights to assemble Nissan cars in Burma.

“Nissan is pleased to be a strong player in the growth of the automotive industry in Myanmar,” said Yutaka Sanada, a senior vice president for Nissan Asia & Oceania.

“I am pleased that the Tan Chong Group… will further expand their business in Myanmar with the construction of a CKD assembly plant,” said Rangoon Chief Minister U Phyo Min Thein. “This project will bring in investment and employment opportunities to the local community to help boost economic growth and elevate income levels.”

Burma’s Dairy Sector has “High Potential” for Expansion

Burma’s still-nascent dairy industry has high potential for growth over the next 15 years, according to Sangchai Chotchuangchutchaval of the Thai dairy firm Patkol Public Co.

Recalling Thai experiences in the sector, he said that dairy operators in Thailand began with low expertise and made significant losses at the beginning.

“We do not want Myanmar to repeat our mistakes,” he said at the sidelines of a seminar in the Thai capital Bangkok, the Nation newspaper reported.

Burma needs to build up standards and quality in the sector ahead of a potential large inflow of foreign dairy products, Sangchai said. Patpol has already worked with local partners to build dairy plants in the Rangoon Region, he added, while Mandalay has strong potential in the future because of its easy access to the dairy supply.

U Yan Naing Soe, director of Burma’s livestock breeding and veterinary department, said the country needed to grow its dairy sector.

“Our economy relies very much on agriculture and livestock,” he said. “There is a lot of room for improvement in the dairy business. We need to support farmers and help them grow their business and income.”