The Irrawaddy Business Roundup (January 14)

By The Irrawaddy 14 January 2017


Bus Production Receives Green Light

A consortium of 31 Burmese firms is set to start producing buses for the local and export markets, DealStreet Asia reported.

The Rangoon-based Myanmar Motor Corporation (MMC) has received permission from the Myanmar Investment Commission to conduct operations at an assembly plant in Mingaladon Township.

The plant will have the capacity to produce 30 vehicles a month, MMC president U Htay Aung told DealStreet Asia, though initial targets are to produce 100 buses per year.

Buses will be of two sizes, 49-seaters and 55-seaters, and will be for city and highway use. Eventually, the company hopes to export to markets such as Singapore, Macao, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

U Htay Aung is the founder of Sakura Auto Co, and he also built the Sakura Hospital in Rangoon. MMC was established in 2012, and its members include Sakura Trade Center, Sakura Engineering and Construction Development, Sakura Technical Services, Three Color Cherry, Myanmar New Way, and Ngwe Kyar Yan.

MMC is seeking access to financing from the Global Treasure Bank, formerly the Myanma Livestock and Fisheries Development Bank, according to the report.

Thai Oil Company to Maintain Focus on Burma Investments

Burma will account for most of the capital expenditure of Thai oil company PTT in Southeast Asia this year, according to a report.

PTT’s spending in Burma in 2017 will focus on maintaining production levels at its Zawtika and Yadana projects, as well as continuing exploration activities at the Myanmar MOGE 3 and Myanmar M11 projects.

PTT has reduced its total annual budget this year by 30 percent to US$2.9 billion, while it focuses on maintaining production levels to meet domestic energy demand in Thailand.

Projects in Thailand will account for 64 percent of capital expenditure in 2017, while capital spending in Southeast Asia, mainly in Burma, will account for 24 percent of spending. Another 12 percent will go toward developments in Australia, Africa and the Americas, according to the report.

“This investment plan reflects the group’s strategic directions of 3Rs – Reset, Refocus, Renew – with a priority on maintaining the production level to effectively serve domestic energy demand, as well as accelerating the development of existing projects in the pipeline,” PTT president and CEO Somporn Vongvuthipornchai said in a statement.

He said the group’s financial position remains robust, with cash in hand of more than $3 billion, leaving it ready to cope with the fluctuation in global crude prices as well as to seek new opportunities.

Meanwhile, foreign companies will drill in a total of 37 new offshore blocks in Burma this year, deputy permanent secretary for electricity U Htay Aung told the Global Times.

Burma earned $1.82 billion from natural gas exports as of Dec. 9 in the fiscal year 2016-2017, he said.

1-Net and Burst Networks Plan a Singapore-Burma Data Corridor

A plan to boost network connectivity between Singapore and Burma has been announced by 1-Net and Burst Networks data centers.

The I-Net data center in Singapore and the Burst Networks data center in Burma will be connected via two subsea and terrestrial routes operated by the Campana Group.

“This high-speed data center corridor is unprecedented and will support many value-added services on this platform. With this seamless connection and one network model, both Burst and 1-Net are able to achieve the lowest latency and highest quality link for their customers,” Campana Group CEO Dr. Myo Ohn told

Burst will serve as Burma’s first internet exchange, connecting international networks to local operators and ISPs, according to the report.  The exchange will also support a transmission facility to host satellite and cable termination facilities as well as fully redundant systems as well as C-Band and Ka-Band satellite facilities.

The projects form part of a wider agreement for 1-Net to provide operational support for Burst Networks’ data center at the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) outside Rangoon.

Yoma Gets Nod for Downtown Rangoon Projects

Yoma Strategic Holdings said this week that its development projects in downtown Rangoon have been approved by the Myanmar Investment Commission, Businessnews Asia reported.

The projects are a major mixed-used development on ten acres at Bogyoke Aung San Road and the conversion of the adjacent heritage-listed 19th-century Burma Railways headquarters building into a Peninsula hotel.

‘‘This is a major milestone towards satisfaction of conditions in the company’s shareholders agreements with its respective joint venture partners,” Yoma said in the report.

The landmark project in a prime location in Rangoon was delayed for two years as Yoma sought lease extensions it claimed were necessary for the project’s viability.

Telecoms Provided Most Jobs in 2016

Jobs website said that the telecommunication sector was responsible for hiring the most staff in 2016, Eleven Media reported.

State-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) hired the largest number of employees, with Huawei and Ooredoo taking second and third places, the survey said.

The distribution and logistics sector came second, followed by construction, trade, manufacturing, computers and technology, and the hotels and tourism sectors, according to the survey which polled more than 400 companies.

Information technology skills were in high demand, according to the poll.