Ayala buys into Myanmar firm


    The Ayala Group is venturing into Myanmar.

    The company said it is buying up to 20 percent of the Yoma Group, Myanmar’s conglomerate led by the Pun family for $237.5 million.

    The Yoma Group, which is comprised of two holding companies, Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. (YSH) and Myanmar-listed First Myanmar Investment Public Co. Ltd. (FMI), and the acquisition making Ayala the second largest investor in both entities.

    Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Ayala chairman, said Asean has massive potential to reap the benefits of Asia’s rise in the global economy and that the company can “definitely move closer to this aspiration by working with a respected and diversified conglomerate in the region.”

    Myanmar’s underpenetrated market is the second fastest growing in the region with GDP growth over 6 percent year on year for the last three years. With its unique geographic location between India and China to the North, Myanmar incentivizes the construction of multiple infrastructure projects and Special Economic Zones, Ayala noted.

    “Its government’s broad liberalization initiatives have opened several key sectors to foreign investment, with real estate alone acquiring over $4 billion in foreign investment since 2012 when Myanmar transitioned to democratic rule,” it said.

    In October, Ayala’s energy unit, AC Energy, together with YSH, announced its plans to help develop around 200MW of renewable energy in Myanmar, sustainably powering up 70 percent of its population mostly in rural areas.

    To date, Ayala has established its presence in Indonesia, Vietnam, and China, as well as Australia, Europe, the US, and Mexico. Ayala pursues international expansion opportunistically, in markets and sectors where it can bring its strengths and expertise.