First Myanmar Investment Announces Expansion After Record Profits
By Kyaw Hsu Mon 24 November 2014
RANGOON — First Myanmar Investment Company (FMI) has announced plans for expansion in four sectors of Burma’s economy before the end of the current fiscal year, on the back of the conglomerate’s highest ever profit results.
Chairman Serge Pun told investors at FMI’s 22nd annual general meeting that the company would be expanding its operations in four of its existing business areas, including real estate, healthcare, aviation and banking.
“Among these four sectors, real estate is generating the most profit for us,” Serge Pun told the meeting. “I believe that the real estate business is the best potential sector in Myanmar [Burma] for future investment, as tourism and foreign investment expands.”
FMI last year began construction on the Star City housing project in Rangoon’s Thanlyin Township, which is expected to provide an eventual 9000 apartments for 30,000 people. 300 apartments have been completed to date.
Next year, FMI will begin construction of Kris Plaza in Naypyidaw, a residential apartment project in conjunction with Krislite Company, as well as the City Gates project in the low-income township of Hlaing Tharyar on the western side of the Rangoon River.
Investors heard on Sunday were told that FMI expected to develop more housing projects over the next five years in collaboration with Yoma Strategic Holdings, the Singapore-listed investment company also chaired by Serge Pun.
The FMI plans to expand its healthcare investments in collaboration with the Indonesia-based Lippo Group, with plans to build and administer eight private hospitals across the country on the same model as Rangoon’s Pun Hlaing, in which FMI has a 35 percent stake.
FMI’s aviation division will begin a passenger flight service in early December with the recent acquisition of three Bombardier aircraft, building on its existing chartered flight service.
Yoma Bank, an FMI subsidiary, will provide full banking services in all 44 of its branches in Burma from the end of this year.
During the 2003 banking crisis, Yoma Bank’s depositor license was terminated after allegations the institution had lent well beyond its capital reserves prompted a bailout from the Central Bank of Myanmar. After regaining its license in 2012, Yoma has prepared its staff for the resumption of deposit-based services after operating solely as a money transfer service in the intervening period.
FMI’s net profit doubled in the last fiscal year to K3.02 billion (US$2.81 million), the best result ever recorded by the company. The company’s total capital rose to K27 billion (US$25.12 million) over the same period, with the FMI’s total assets currently valued at K73.4 billion (US$68.28 million).
In order to boost shareholder value, FMI announced on Sunday its intention to list on the Yangon Stock Exchange, with the assistance of the Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre and Japan’s Daiwa Securities Group.
“We expect that once the FMI has been listed in the Yangon Stock Exchange, net share value will definitely increase,” said Serge Pun.
Since its founding in 1992, FMI has developed extensive investments across the Burmese economy in financial services, real estate, transport and agriculture.
At one time a leading investor in automotive manufacturing and services, with stakes in the local operations of Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Nissan and Suzuki at various times, FMI has in recent years begun to divest from this sector to devote more resources to its current core operations.
FMI holds a five percent interest in Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings, part of the Burmese consortium holding a 51% stake in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, currently under construction near the site of the Star City housing project.