The Irrawaddy Business Roundup (August 5)

By The Irrawaddy 5 August 2017

Philippines Firm Eyes Myanmar

A Philippines-based rice research firm is considering expanding operations to Myanmar and India, ABS-CBN in Manila reported.

The firm could invest up to US$3 million in Myanmar, Chairman Henry Lim said.

The company plans to produce seeds for sale to farmers, and then to sub-contract farmers to produce rice including the company’s own brand, Dona Maria.

Last month, SL-Agritech signed a collaboration agreement with Bangladesh firm EnP Solutions for the seed production of a high-yielding rice hybrid which can withstand both dry and wet climates.

Lat War Group in Health Deal

The Lat War Group in Myanmar has joined with Singapore-based Asian American Medical Group (AAMG) to explore healthcare opportunities, the Edgemarkets reported.

The deal is with Lat War’s subsidiary, Golden Land United Health Group Company.

Lat War is mainly involved in garments, textiles, paper manufacturing, power generation and real estate.

It has extensive business networks in Myanmar and a proven track record, AAMG chairman Dr. Tan Kai Chah said.

Golden Land managing director Dr. Khin Maung Aye said, “While Lat War is new to healthcare, we are experienced in doing business in Myanmar. Backed by the track record and international network of Dr. Tan and his team, I am confident we will make rapid inroads into this exciting sector.”

AAMG specializes in liver treatment and oncology and is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange. It will take a 51 percent stake in the joint-venture Gold Bell Healthcare Ventures Company Ltd, with Golden Land holding the remaining 49 percent.

Yoma Sees Profits Up

Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings saw a sharp rise in net profits this year over the previous year, according to a company report.

Better operational performance across all its businesses helped revenues group year on year by more than 46 percent from $17.6 million to $25.8 million.

Its consumer business, including KFC outlets, were up 42.1 percent in revenues and the automotive and heavy equipment business rose by 61 percent, it was reported. The real estate business was also up.

Thais to Probe Shan State Opportunities

Shan State officials will receive a delegation from Thailand’s Foreign Trade Department on a five-day mission starting Monday in an attempt to boost border trade, the Bangkok Post reported.

The goal is to expand border trade by five percent this year, said deputy director-general Adul Chotinisakorn. Opportunities in Shan State are primarily in hotels and tourism, restaurants, agro-industries, electricity and livestock, he said.

Thai companies who will join the trip include the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), Bangkok Mass Transit System Plc, the Port Authority of Thailand and Amata Corporation Plc.

Thanaka Products Make Inroads in Thailand

Traditional Myanmar thanaka (a fragrant paste traditionally used in Myanmar for cosmetic and medicinal purposes) is finding new markets in Thailand, according to Asia Nikkei.

British Dispensary, a Thai personal care products manufacturer, introduced a cooling body powder that contains thanaka to the Thai market earlier this year. The product marketed under its Snake Brand line is billed as a way to cool the body before going to bed or after a shower.

Thanaka used directly on the face also has potential in Thailand, according to the company’s president Anuruth Vongjanij. “People might initially find it weird to put a powder on their face, but I think it could be a new fashion trend from Thailand.”

British Dispensary spent more than $5 million marketing thanaka on social media, according to the report.

Another Thai company, Everyday Happy, has introduced a thanaka skincare line that includes soap, foundation and body powder. Sales of De Leaf Thanaka products have been doubling every year since 2014, according to the report.

Myanmar Squashes Trade Zone on India Border

Myanmar will not yet set up a trading zone on its border with India at Tamu due to slow trade in the area and poor immediate potential, it was reported last week.

Deputy Commerce Minister Mr U Aung Htoo told parliamentarians that the Tamu trading point has been open since 1995 but trade value has been low.

A series of joint committee meetings between Myanmar and India was held last week with a view to improving bilateral trade and border trade. There were also discussions on opening a trade zone in Chin State.

According to official statistics, Myanmar-India bilateral trade amounted to $1.743 billion in the fiscal year 2016 – 2017.

New Hotel to Open by Inya Lake

A 15-story hotel and apartment complex overlooking Yangon’s Inya Lake is due to open at the start of September, Hotel Lotte of South Korea announced.

The Hotel Lotte Yangon will have 343 guest rooms, all with a view of the lake, and facilities will include a large banquet hall and a swimming pool overlooking the lake.

The 29-story apartment block will have 315 units and facilities will include a children’s playroom. Apartment sizes range from 62 to 339 square meters.