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SGX green-lights Yoma Strategic's Ayala share placement

THE executive chairman of mainboard-listed, Myanmar-focused investment holding company Yoma Strategic will still hold a stake of at least 25 per cent, even with recent investment plans by Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp, the board disclosed on Sunday evening.

This is part of the chairman's undertakings for the placement of new shares to Ayala - an issuance for which Yoma Strategic gained in-principle approval from the Singapore bourse on Nov 22.

Yoma Strategic chairman Serge Pun, who is also its controlling shareholder, already owned 33.16 per cent of the company when Ayala's US$237.5 million deal was unveiled on Nov 14.

Under the deal, Ayala is taking a 20 per cent interest in Yoma Strategic, as well as in Yoma-linked First Myanmar Investment Public Co (FMI), which is listed in Yangon, for S$0.45 a share. Mr Pun is also the controlling shareholder of FMI, where he holds a 62.74 per cent stake.

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While the placement depends on the execution of an agreement that will see Ayala extend a convertible loan to FMI, it is not subject to the disbursement of the loan, Yoma Strategic's board said in its update, while noting that the convertible loan agreement has been executed.

Now, in announcing the Singapore Exchange's in-principle approval to list the first tranche of placement shares, the board had to state that the terms of Ayala's investment in Yoma Strategic and FMI were independently negotiated, with talks led by separate management teams.

The board added that its independent directors "have unanimously approved the placement", after a review of its rationale and terms.

It had previously said that the bulk of the placement proceeds would go towards paying for real estate investments, with some of the rest to be used for refinancing the company's debts and investing in financial services and consumer businesses. 

Yoma Strategic shares last closed flat at S$0.375 before the latest announcement.