The Irrawaddy

YSX Set for Rapid Expansion in 2016: Official

Government officials clap during the ceremonial opening of the Yangon Stock Exchange in Rangoon on Dec. 9, 2015. (Photo: Soe Zeya Tun / Reuters)

RANGOON — About a half-dozen additional companies could potentially list on the Yangon Stock Exchange by year’s end, Maung Maung Thein, chairman of the Myanmar Securities Exchange Commission, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday, bolstering the economic heft of a bourse that last month began trading with just one firm’s shares available.

That company, First Myanmar Investment (FMI), saw its shares publically tradeable starting from March 25. For months, officials involved said it, along with five other companies, would be the first to list on the new bourse. Myanmar Citizens Bank; Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Limited; Myanmar Agribusiness Public Company Limited (Mapco); First Private Bank; and Great Hor Kham were the other five firms expected to initially list on the YSX.

But on Wednesday, Maung Maung Thein said by the end of this year, the stock exchange’s ranks could more than double from the six companies that had been expected to list in 2016.

“We’re now considering another six or seven new companies to list on YSX this year, among them banks, SEZ, and other similar businesses to the previous round,” Maung Maung Thein said.

He declined to offer more details on the additional prospective company listings. His reference to an “SEZ” would appear to imply that the holding company of one of two special economic zones, at Kyaukphyu in Arakan State or Dawei in Tenasserim Division—will list alongside the expected shares trading of the Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Limited.

“We will prioritize selling shares from the first round of listed companies, so Thilawa SEZ shares will be second after FMI shares,” he said.

“We took a long time to build this stock market here, so it doesn’t matter if we take a little more time to make sure it keeps working,” Maung Maung Thein said.

Myanmar Citizen’s Bank and First Private Bank were expected to follow the Thilawa listing, he added.

“Why it’s been delayed is, we have had to wait for those listed companies. Whether they are ready or not depends on their situation,” he said.

FMI shares began trading on March 25 at 26,000 kyats per share. The stock has peaked at 41,000 kyats, and closed on Wednesday at 30,000 kyats.

Six securities companies have been awarded licenses to serve as underwriters for shares traded on the YSX, including Kanbawza (KBZ) Group, CB Securities and AYA Securities, as well as the Myanmar Securities Exchange Center, which has experience in shares transactions thanks to its role as the over-the-counter trading predecessor to the YSX.