HONG KONG Nov 19 A Myanmar-focused property
developer launched a share sale on Monday to fund the building
of a luxury real estate project in the frontier market,
coinciding with the historic visit by U.S. President Barack
Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd is
raising about $83 million in the share sale, and the offering
also got attention from international investors thanks to
Obama's visit, a person with knowledge of the matter told
Myanmar, also known as Burma, has introduced the most
sweeping reforms in the former British colony since a 1962
military coup. Some global companies are keen to tap business
opportunities in the country that has recently embraced
Yoma, which gets about 90 percent of its revenue from real
estate, is offering up to 192.9 million new shares in a range of
S$0.515 to S$0.53 each, seeking to raise as much as S$102.2
million ($83.2 million), said the source who was not authorized
to speak publicly on the matter.
The new shares are being offered at a discount of as much as
8 percent to Friday's close. One U.S. investor agreed to buy
nearly half of the shares on offer, the source said.
Obama became the first serving U.S. president to visit
Myanmar on Monday, praising the country for democratic and
economic reforms in the past year.
"This is timely, given Obama's visit to Myanmar, increased
international investment in the country and real estate becoming
more of a hot sector," the source added.
Foreign interest in Myanmar has soared since the end of
military rule in 2011, with a period of rapid economic and
political reform under President Thein Sein. The increased
interest has pushed residential real estate prices up 39 percent
in the first nine months of the year, while office rental rates
are up 50 percent, according to figures from investment bank
Silk Road Finance.
Yoma has agreed to buy an 80 percent stake in Meeyahta
International Hotel Ltd. (MIHL) for about $81.3 million. MIHL is
planning to develop a five-star and a four-star hotel, a
high-end serviced apartment complex and business towers in
commercial capital Yangon, in a project that is expected to cost
up to $350 million, Yoma said in a statement to the Singapore
DBS and UBS were hired as joint
bookrunners on the share sale.
The company also owns the rights to agriculture land in the
country, currently producing jatropha used in biodiesel and
black pepper, as well as a partnership to distribute in Myanmar
imported light trucks made by Dongfeng Automobile Co. Ltd (DFAC)
($1 = 1.2291 Singapore dollars)
(Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Denny Thomas and