Myanmar's Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ) To Sell Shares In March And Raise Funds For Construction

 @SophieXSong on February 20 2014 10:56 AM
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A police officer stands on guard near national flags of Myanmar and Japan during the commencement ceremony of the Thilawa Special Economic Zone project. Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

Shares of Myanmar’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone will go on sale next month, in a bid to raise the $21 million necessary for funding the first phase of construction of the much-anticipated SEZ near Yangon, the financial center of Myanmar.

The plan was announced on Wednesday at a news conference by Set Aung, a government official who is also chairman of the Thilawa SEZ Management Committee, and Win Aung, owner of Dagon Group and chairman of Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the Irrawaddy reported.

“Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Limited is going to sell 2.145 million shares in total during an initial sale next month with each share valued at 10,000 kyat [about $10] each,” Set Aung said.

The project is a joint venture planned by the Burmese and the Japanese government, along with a consortium of Japanese companies and the federation. The Burmese side owns 51 percent of the project, which will eventually include a deep sea port south of Yangon, Japanese factories and large housing projects.

“All Burmese citizens and Burmese-owned companies can buy shares and we will make an announcement about share sales in early March and provide a one month period to buy shares,” Win Aung said, regarding Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Ltd., the company formed by the nine Burmese companies that own 41 percent of the 51 percent of the Burmese share of the project. The Burmese government owns the other 10 percent.

The funds raised by share sales would be used to finance construction of the Class A Area, which would cover 400 hectares of the project and cost about $180 million to complete. Set Aung said that more than 80 percent of the ground has been leveled in preparation for construction.

Thilawa is the most-advanced of several foreign investment-driven SEZ projects, which are part of the government’s plan to attract investment and increase industrial productivity for the impoverished Southeast Asian nation, which until 2011 remained shut-off from the world. The project could eventually provide tens of thousands of jobs, the Irrawaddy reported. 

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