The Irrawaddy Business Roundup (October 1)

By Kyaw Hsu Mon 1 October 2016

Singapore Top Investor in Tourism Sector

Singapore is the largest investor in Burma’s tourism and hospitality sector thus far this year, according to a report in Travel Trade Weekly.

Outpacing Thailand for the first time, Singapore invested US$1.6 billion in 22 projects before the end of August, according to the report citing the state-owned Global New Light of Myanmar.

Thailand invested $445 million in 11 projects and Vietnam invested $440 million in one project, the report said.

Other major players included Hong Kong with investments of $187 million in five projects, South Korea with $100 million in one project, Japan with $73 million in four projects and Malaysia with $23 million in three projects.

Total investments in the hotel and tourism sector by 10 countries were $2.9 billion for 52 projects, according to the Ministry for Hotels and Tourism.

Total foreign direct investment in the tourism and hospitality sector last year amounted to $2.7 billion for 48 projects.

The tourism sector is expected to earn over $9 billion in the coming five years under the Second Five-Year National Development Plan, said the ministry.

Anthem Asia Invests in Rangoon Tea House

Investment group Anthem Asia has taken a significant minority stake in the award-winning Rangoon Tea House restaurant, DealStreet Asia reports.

The restaurant located on the second floor of a historic building on Pansodan Road in Rangoon is planning to move to the building’s ground floor with a larger restaurant and cocktail bar. It will also extend its outside catering business and roll out new food concepts and other business lines, according to the report.

Rangoon Tea House was founded by Htet Myet Oo and is co-owned by Isabella Sway-Tin and Simon Sao.

The restaurant is Anthem Asia’s ninth investment in Burma, with others including Thalun International School, fitness chain MOVE, Blink Agency, and a marketing communication business and serviced office firm the Hintha Business Center.

Tata Group Opens ‘Hub’ Office

India’s Tata group has opened a new office in Rangoon that will act as a hub for Tata companies in Burma.

The new Tata International office will also explore additional opportunities in sectors such as power, agriculture, renewable energy, tourism, and consumer products, according to a report in The Hindu Business Line.

“Myanmar plays a significant role in a number of our group companies’ international portfolio, and we hope to be able to further capitalize on the potential opportunities present in the region,” Madhu Kannan of Tata Sons was quoted as saying.

Tata companies in Burma include Tata International, Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors, Titan Company, Tata Power, and Tata Consultancy Services.

KBZ Bank to Open Office in Malaysia

KBZ Bank, of Burma’s KBZ Group of Companies, has gained permission to open a representative office in Malaysia.

“We will announce an opening date soon for the office in Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur,” said Nyo Myint, senior managing director of the KBZ Group, following the approval of the move this week by the Central Bank of Malaysia.

KBZ Bank opened representative offices in Bangkok, Thailand in April and in Singapore in August of this year. More than 420 new branches have been opened across Burma recently.

Animal Feed Investment for Rangoon

A global leader in animal feed has invested in a green field production facility in Rangoon Division, DealStreet Asia reported this week.

The Netherlands-based De Heus, one of the world’s top fifteen animal feed companies, has invested $11.2 million in the production and distribution facility for poultry, pig and cattle feed at Myaung Dagar in Hmawbi Township.

The company will cooperate closely with farmers, it said. “By providing our high technology feed, in combination with knowledge, and partnering with other independent companies, we believe that we can make the farmers very competitive,” said Johan van den Ban, managing director of De Heus.

De Heus has seven factories in Vietnam and its success there sparked interest in seeking opportunities in other parts of Southeast Asia, van den Ban said in the report.

The Burma plant is already operating at 50 percent capacity and the company is set to ‘‘stop importing from Vietnam and focus purely on local production,” van den Ban said. Annual production at the plant will range from 200,000 to 250,000 metric tons.

De Heus also has a 49 percent stake in Bel Ga Myanmar, a chicken hatchery and breeding farm, with the rest held by Belgium-based Belgabroed. In mid-September the International Finance Company proposed to provide a $6.5 million debt investment to Bel Ga.

Established animal feed players in Burma include Myanmar CP Livestock, part of Thailand’s CP Livestock Group, May Kha Industries of the Indonesia-based Japfa Group and New Hope.
Construction Firms Warned to Uphold Standards  

Action will be taken against construction companies responsible for sub-standard work on state projects such as roads, schools, hospitals and bridges, Construction Minister U Win Khine warned this week.

The minister was responding to a query in the Upper House of Parliament on September 27, as reported in the Global New Light of Myanmar.

The government has outlined criterion and standards that must be met by contractors implementing state projects or be in breach of contract, the minister said.

“Any damage associated with poor standards is punishable by the regulations,” U Win Khine said.

The Ministry of Construction issued guidelines for construction firms to follow earlier this month.

State Bank of India Set to Open Rangoon Office

India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India, is set to open an office in Rangoon on Monday, October 3. The branch will be located at the Union Financial Center in the downtown area of the former capital.

The formal launch of operations will be celebrated at an event at the Sule Shangri-La Hotel on the same day.