GIC said to become Yoma Bank’s second foreign shareholder

Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC Pvt Ltd (GIC), and Norway’s private equity firm, Norfund, have bought a substantial stake in Yoma Bank, led by tycoon Serge Pun.

GIC and Norfund will be buying a 30 percent stake in Yoma Bank for K130 billion (US$89 million) in the latest round of funding, according to company sources.

Yoma Bank became the first bank in Myanmar last year with a foreign stakeholder following a decision by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to convert a $5 million loan into a 5pc equity shareholding.

The Myanmar Times understands that after the transaction is complete, IFC will have an interest of around 4pc, while Norfund and GIC will own 10pc and 20pc respectively.

“Post the introduction of the new investors, we will be the best capitalised local bank in Myanmar,” Yoma Bank chief executive officer Dean Cleland told Bloomberg.

As GIC is operating many different businesses, their experience across the regions is the one of the best things to get out of, he added.

This marks the latest major foreign investment in Pun’s group of companies.

In November 2019, Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp bought a 20 pc stakes in two of Serge Pun’s listed companies for a total of US$238 million. Ayala, with investments in real estate, telecommunications, energy and infrastructure, will acquire stakes in Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings and Yangon-listed First Myanmar Investment (FMI), becoming the second-largest shareholder in both.

The deal with Ayala represented the first major foreign investment in a company listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange since Myanmar’s securities commission announced in July that non-Myanmar individuals and entities would be permitted to acquire up to 35pc of listed firms.

The Pun companies, which have come under pressure from heavy exposure to the Yangon real estate market and delays in its flagship investment Yoma Central, needed to attract new capital, analysts say.

Yoma group raised $70 million early in 2019 from Thai institutional investors in the first foray by a Myanmar-focused company into the corporate bond market

FMI is consistently ranked among the most transparent companies in Myanmar, having the second highest transparency scores in the 2019 Pwint Thit Sa report out of 104 companies.

Yoma Bank was established in 1993 and has 80 branches around Myanmar, with more than 3000 employees. The bank also operates Wave Money, a joint venture with Telenor Myanmar, to provide financial services via mobile phones.

Source: Myanmar Times

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