Ayala invests $237 million in Myanmar tycoon’s empire

Ralf Rivas
Ayala invests $237 million in Myanmar tycoon’s empire

Ayala Corp

Ayala Corporation is set to acquire a 20% stake in Serge Pun's Yoma Group. The deal is the biggest ever Philippine conglomerate investment in Myanmar.

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ biggest and oldest conglomerate, Ayala Corporation, is teaming up with another Southeast Asian business empire, marking its largest investment overseas.

Ayala said on Thursday, November 14, that it will acquire a 20% stake worth a whopping $237.5 million (P12.1 billion) in Myanmar’s leading conglomerate, the Yoma Group.

The deal is the biggest ever Philippine conglomerate investment in Myanmar.

The Yoma Group is owned by Myanmar-born tycoon Serge Pun. It is comprised of two holding companies: Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings (YSH) and Myanmar-listed First Myanmar Investment Public.

As of 2017, Forbes estimated Pun’s net worth at $800 million (P40.8 billion).

“We look forward to leveraging their expertise and experience to strengthen our existing businesses, and to explore potential new opportunities in Myanmar,” Pun said.

Ayala said this partnership would give the Philippine conglomerate a unique opportunity to participate in Myanmar’s growth story. Myanmar’s economy is the second fastest in the region, clocking in some 6% for the last 3 years.

“We could not imagine a better way to do this than with the Pun family, whose solid, decades-long reputation as a business house has cemented their expertise in multiple sectors such as real estate, banking, automotive, health care, power, and tourism, among others,” said Ayala chairman and chief executive officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala.

Last October, Ayala’s energy unit, AC Energy, announced its plans to develop around 200 megawatts of renewable energy in Myanmar with YSH. The project aims to power 70% of Myanmar’s rural areas.

“Through partnerships of this kind, we see greater potential to deploy and explore shared expertise, knowledge, and resources to grow in multiple sectors,” said Ayala president and chief operating officer Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

Ayala has established its presence in Indonesia, Vietnam, and China, as well as Australia, Europe, the United States, and Mexico. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.