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Ayala eyes stake in Singapore, Myanmar firms for $237.5M

Ayala Corp. announced on Friday its plan to acquire a 20% share in Singapore-based Yoma Strategic Holdings Inc. (YSH) and a 20% stake in First Myanmar Investment Public Co. Ltd. (FMI).

The total investment amounts to $237.5 million, the listed conglomerate said in a stock exchange disclosure.

“The transaction supports Ayala’s strategy to pursue international expansion opportunistically, particularly in markets and sectors where it can bring its strengths and expertise,” it said.

“Myanmar is an under penetrated frontier market with a promising economic growth story, supported by its government’s broad liberalization initiatives,” it added.

The investment in YSH is $155 million, of which $108.6 million was completed on Dec. 2, 2019 to give it a 14.9% of the foreign firm’s outstanding shares.

The rest of the investment at $46.4 million for 5.1% of the outstanding shares will be completed once approved by the Singapore Exchange.

Meanwhile, the investment in FMI at $82.5 million will be through a convertible loan, which was disbursed on Jan. 23, 2020, “following the completion of the conditions for disbursement, including the approval by the Central Bank of Myanmar.” Ayala said.

Ayala said VIP Infrastructure Holdings Pte. Ltd. will its investing entity in FMI.

It said YSH and FMI “will serve as Ayala’s main platform for strategic investments in Myanmar.” It described the firms as having “overlapping interests in real estate, power, financial services, automotive, and healthcare.”

It said YSH is listed on the main board of the Singapore Securities Exchange Trading Ltd. and deals with real estate, heavy equipment, and financial services, among other businesses in Myanmar.

FMI has over 8,000 shareholders and was the first company to be listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange in 2016, it added.

Ayala said FMI is Myanmar’s largest public companies with “an unbroken track record of profitability since inception in 1992.”

On Friday, shares in Ayala dropped by P40 or 4.59% to P831 per share. —  Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson

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