The Irrawaddy Business Roundup (November 19)

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 19 November 2016

Report: Serge Pun & Associates to Buy 50th Street Bar

The owner of Rangoon’s well-known 50th Street Bar and Grill is in discussions to sell the business to Serge Pun & Associates (SPA), according to a newspaper in New Zealand.

British businessman Anthony Alderson has owned the bar since 1997, initially as a co-owner and as sole owner from 1999. Formerly based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Alderson with his family moved his base in 2011 to New Zealand, where he operates a hotel.

The downtown cafe and bar in Rangoon, as well as an Italian restaurant, a café and an apartment being purchased by a different party are being sold for a total price of US$1.42 million, the Otago Daily Times said.

SPA Myanmar has interests in manufacturing, financial, real estate, technology, construction and healthcare. Mr. Pun’s net worth has been estimated at more than $700 million, the paper added.

Mitsubishi among developers for Rangoon project

A Japanese consortium is due to start construction of a large commercial complex in Rangoon in partnership with local developers, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

Developer Mitsubishi Estate and trading company Mitsubishi Corp are among the partners in the project that will include condominiums, two office buildings, a hotel and services unit on a 4-hectare site across from Rangoon’s Central Railway Station.

Set to start by March 2017, the developers are expecting challenges ahead due to the size of the project, said the report, which did not name the identities of the project’s local partners.

‘‘Just getting the construction materials into the country smoothly is a lot of trouble,’’ Akihiro Kawano, manager of Mitsubishi Corp’s ASEAN real estate development department told the Review.

The level of earthquake resistance for the buildings will be set at the same standard as a previous project Singapore, but lower than the standard followed by Mitsubishi Estate in Tokyo’s Marunouchi business district, according to the report. The company’s business district in Tokyo standards are 50 percent higher than the minimum legal requirement and are regarded as ‘‘excessive’’ for Burma, the report said.

Rents for the buildings will be set at competitive rates to compete with rival buildings of similar size, Mitsubishi Estate said.

Malaysia-based packaging firm plans investment

Malaysia-based Daibochi Plastic and Packaging is set to invest $6.8 million in a joint venture with a local company, to cater to a rising market for packaging for consumer goods.

An agreement signed with  Myanmar Smart Pack Industrial Company Ltd (MSP) will see the new joint venture titled Daibochi Packaging (Myanmar) operate a strengthened manufacturing facility with more capacity and increased efficiency, according to a report in The Star, Malaysia.

Daibochi will also spend an additional $5.5million on various plant and other improvements, according to managing director Thomas Lim.

“We believe that Myanmar is poised to witness a high growth trajectory, propelled by the increasing economic development and anticipated influx of global brands of fast moving consumer goods and food and beverage as the country opens up,’’ he said.

Lower manufacturing costs in Burma would help the venture to achieve a competitive advantage in the export market, he added.

Telecoms firm OCK forms another company in Burma

Telecommunications network provider the OCK Group which heralded its entrance into Burma in June in the phone tower sector has set up a new firm in the country, according to The Star media outlet in Malaysia.

Well Synergy Resources Private Ltd will focus on providing engineering services as well as operating a rental business, market research and management services.

“Well Synergy is established as a subsidiary of OCK International with a registered capital of $300,000, divided into 3,000 shares of $100 each, in which 2,999 shares are held by OCK International and one share is held by Low Hock Keong,” according to a company announcement to Bursa Malaysia.

OCK signed a deal earlier this year with Telenor Myanmar to build 920 telco towers which it will own and lease out after the towers are completed, expected to be in the first quarter of next year.

EuroCham launches business support guides

The European Chamber of Commerce in Myanmar (EuroCham) launched a series of business support guides in Rangoon on 16 November.

The event to launch briefing papers for foreign businesses interested in investing in the agriculture, consumer goods, energy, health and manufacturing sectors in Burma was held in the Melia Hotel.

EU member state representatives, EU companies and chambers, as well as trade promotion partners from the UMFCCI, DICA and others attended.

A panel discussion on the new investment law took place with U Aung Naing Oo, the director general of DICA, and Philip Dupuis, head of the economic and trade section of the EU delegation, and a networking opportunity was held afterwards. The briefing papers are now available for free at the Eurocham website.

On Monday 21 November the chamber will host a breakfast briefing under the title ‘Myanmar: A level playing field for EU businesses.’ A separate workshop on the same day will discuss how business processes and technologies can drive commercial  success. More information is available on the same website.

Burma set to increase pulses exports to India

Due to greater demand, Burma is set to export about 100,000 tons of pulses a year to India, the Global Times reported.

India will require some 25,000 extra tons of mung beans and pigeon peas annually from Burma starting from next year, the report said.

Burma has averaged production of more than 600,000 tons of mung beans and more than 200,000 tons of pigeon peas a year, but the yield decreased last year, according to the report.

On average, Burma exports around 240,000 tons of various pulses per year.

The largest market is India, followed by China, Indonesia, European countries and Japan, according to the Myanmar Pulses, Beans and Sesame Seeds Merchants Association.