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Yoma Strategic says looking for growth outside Yangon

Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - 18:50
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Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd , a Myanmar-focused real estate developer, expects to grow its business outside Yangon, its chief executive said, seeking to take advantage of growing wealth outside the country's biggest city.

[SINGAPORE] Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd , a Myanmar-focused real estate developer, expects to grow its business outside Yangon, its chief executive said, seeking to take advantage of growing wealth outside the country's biggest city.

Yoma, chaired by tycoon Serge Pun, has been expanding beyond real estate by partnering with international companies trying to enter the Myanmar market. It holds the franchise for Yum Brands Inc's KFC in the country and recently formed a joint venture to distribute Mitsubishi Motors Corp vehicles.

The company is seen well-placed to benefit from Aung San Suu Kyi's landslide election win if her government accelerates economic development, which would spur demand for property to passenger vehicles.

The clear mandate for change delivered in the Nov 8 election may also help usher in more foreign investment, another plus for Yoma, which has been the go-to-partner for foreign companies.

"We will look at the strategy of scaling up within the country into other cities. That will probably be our next growth driver for the coming 12 months," Yoma CEO Melvyn Pun told Reuters.

For example, the company is looking at opening car showrooms in second-tier cities. "The (vehicle) sales may be happening a lot in Yangon but in fact (buyers) have had to travel five to seven hours from somewhere very far away to come to Yangon just to look at cars," he said.

For its KFC business, the company wants to build scale in Yangon, where it has three outlets, before moving to other cities. He said the company may open the first KFC outlet in Mandalay towards the end of next year or 2017.

Fewer than four out of 10 consumers in Myanmar frequent restaurants, according to a Boston Consulting Group 2013 report, an indication of the potential of a market whose middle and affluent classes are expected to double by 2020.

REUTERS