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[SINGAPORE] First Myanmar Investment Co, a conglomerate controlled by businessman Serge Pun, is aiming to be the first publicly traded company on the Myanmar stock exchange.
Pun, who is also chairman of Singapore-listed developer Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd, said in an interview that First Myanmar doesn't plan to sell any new shares. The company, which has businesses ranging from financial services and real estate to health care in Myanmar, submitted its application for a listing about four months ago, he said at the Bloomberg Asean Business Summit in Bangkok Friday.
"We are ready," said Pun, who returned to Myanmar as an investor more than two decades ago after fleeing the country in 1965 following a military coup. "We hope to be the catalyst for the exchange." Foreign direct investment in Myanmar surged after the quasi-civilian government began opening the country to the outside world five years ago, and may accelerate further after an election victory last month by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party. Positioned between India and China astride maritime trade routes between Europe and East Asia, Myanmar's economy is set to expand about 8.3 per cent this year and close to that in 2016, according to the Asian Development Bank.
While the bourse officially opens on Dec 9, trading may not begin until toward the end of the first quarter. Shares are currently traded over-the-counter through the Myanmar Securities Exchange Co. Authorities in Myanmar have been working with Japanese brokerage Daiwa Securities Group Inc to establish the exchange.
"The Myanmar market will experience a big flow of capital because of the international support," said Aleksey Gordienko, who runs Ostland Capital Co, a private-equity firm based in Bangkok. "The inflow of fresh capital will have a trickle-down effect on private companies and the private sector."
First Myanmar's biggest asset is Yoma Bank, a lender with more than 60 branches in the country. The company also has a real estate tie-up with Yoma Strategic and a health-care joint venture with Lippo Group, Pun said. About a quarter of First Myanmar's stock is traded over the counter, he said.
Shares of Yoma Strategic have risen 28 per cent in the past three months on the Singapore exchange, during which time the benchmark Straits Times Index was little changed.