Institutional investors in Myanmar set up association

Leading private equity firms launched the Myanmar Private Equity & Venture Capital Association this month to give institutional investors a collective voice when engaging with the Myanmar authorities.

“This launch marks a milestone in the development of the Myanmar economy since the country started opening up in 2012. The investment community has reached critical mass,” said association chair Josephine Price, who is co-founder of Anthem Asia.

The membership organisation also counts Delta Capital, Japanese Daiwa PI Partners, London-listed Myanmar Strategic Holdings, Trust Venture Partners’ Yangon Capital Partners and YGA Capital among its founding members.

After Myanmar opened up its market in 2012, the country attracted the interest of private equity investors looking to inject their funds. In 2018, startups in Myanmar raised around US$62 million. Online travel firm Oway secured $14.7 million from Japanese multinational business conglomerate Daiwa and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.

This year, British government-owned Commonwealth Development Corporation has invested $30 million into internet service provider Frontiir, the parent company of Myanmar Net, as the first direct equity investment in the country.

Other startups which received capital investment include online property portal and online logistics app Kargo.

The Myanmar market is relatively nascent compared to neighbouring countries. But advocates argue that private equity and venture capital investments can inject much-needed capital for companies to grow as well as bring in and good corporate governance practices.

The association will support its members by acting as an access point for investors, offering networking opportunities and promoting understanding of the role venture capital and private equity play in economic growth.

“Our early focus will include some basic research, helping regional and international investment groups understand more about Myanmar, and being a voice for institutional investors with the Myanmar authorities,” said Ms Price.

Moreover, the organisation will link different stakeholders within the Myanmar market, identical to how similar groups in Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Singapore work.

Source: Myanmar Times

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