Churchouse Letter
May 2012                   by Peter Churchouse

The Road to Mandalay: Myanmar Looks to be for Real

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This Month I joined a Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce Study Mission to Yangon, Myanmar. We were fortunate enough to meet with various Ambassadors, local business experts, Regional Governmental Ministers from the Ministry of Commerce, the Myanmar Investment Commission and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce & Industry, as well as visit several factories. It was a short, but fascinating visit to a country that is desperately poor, but extraordinarily rich in potential for human and economic development.

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling.

In 1980, nearly every country in Asia was under some form of dictatorship (military or otherwise), or at best some form of autocratic regime involving a single party state (Singapore, Malaysia) or colonial regime (Hong Kong). Thirty years on we take for granted the massive transformation that countries like South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia have undergone to now be ruled by some form of democratic system.

It is interesting to note how much the outright dictatorships have changed, but how little the single party states have changed – Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong – from a representative government point of view. They are still essentially states controlled very neatly by a single ruling cabal. China’s central communist party continues to cling to power, unchallenged in a serious way, comfortable in the knowledge that its military would rise to its support in the event of any widespread discontent.

Asia’s two remaining pariah states – North Korea and Myanmar – are now in the process of becoming just one, as Myanmar embarks on a rash of political, social, economic and international changes that threaten to bring the country into the community of nations once more.

Myanmar’s efforts to join the “real world” began in earnest less than 2 years ago, and the pace of opening and of political and economic change has been astonishing. I do not intend to document the entirety of events that have signaled Myanmar’s reemergence into the community of nations (See Figure 1 – Timeline of events). From Aung San Suu Kyi’s release after 14 years of house arrest, to Hilary Clinton’s visit in November last year and the subsequent procession of foreign leader visits; the British Prime Minister’s visit in April of this year, and just this month both South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak and Indea’s Manmohan Singh. Myanmar’s president Thein Sein has also been on the international diplomatic trail with visits in the past year to Indonesia, China, Singapore (a long standing “friend” of Myanmar’s business community), and most recently Japan.

Hugely significant for the economy has been the recent lifting or suspension of economic sanctions by countries such as the UK, Australia, the EU, and the US. A very significant event from an economic and investment point of view has been the revamp of the nation’s 6 or so different foreign exchange rates to a single rate in early April of this year. Prior to the newly pegged currency, the official exchange rate was 6 Kyat to the US$. The new official rate was 818 kyat to the US$, close to the former unofficial rate.

Figure 1: Timeline of Events

Date Milestone Description
12-Nov-10 Aung San Syy Kyi released from house arrest. A week after a seemingly rigged election in which Suu Kyi was not allowed to take part she is released from house arrest. She spent a total of 14 years under house arrest until this point.
31-Mar-11 Civilian government sworn in, replacing military Junta. Thein Sein sworn into office the next day. Thein Sein sworn in as president of a new nominally civilian government.
10-May-11 Thein Sein visits Indonesia. Visit to further strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
13-May-11 Thein Sein visits China. Visit to further strengthen relations, in particular the free trade agreement between ASEAN and China.
14-Aug-11 Thein Sein visits India. Visit to discuss and strengthen trade relations.
30-Nov-11 Hillary Clinton visits, first U.S. Secretary of State in 50 years. Clinton is the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit in 50 years, has discussions with both Aung Sang Suu Kyi and Thein Sein. U.S. offers to improve relations if democratic reform continues.
01-Dec-11 Aung San Suu Kyi allowed to stand for power. NLD re-registers as a political party and is allowed to take part in the upcoming by-elections.
31-Jan-12 Thein Sein visits Singapore. During this visit, the memorandum of understanding on the Singapore-Myanmar Technical Cooperation programme is signed.
18-Mar-12 FDI reform. No local business partner required and 5 year tax window for foreign companies.
29-Mar-12 Telecom law review. Discussion of reforming the laws surrounding the telecommunication industry which is a highly underdeveloped and currently controlled by the government.
01-Apr-12 Currency float. Myanmar began a managed float of its currency in an effort to create a multi-layered exchange rate regime. This has been dubbed as one of the biggest barriers that has recently been removed from Myanmar’s economy.
01-Apr-12 Aung San Suu Kyi elected as member of parliament. The NLD winning 43 of 44 elected seats, however still only 10% of total seats. The military party, the USDP still holds 80% of the total seats.
03-Apr-12 Kyat pegged to USD Pegged at 818 Kyat to the USD, this removed the discrepancy between the black market and official exchange rate.
13-Apr-12 David Cameron visits. After discussions with Aung San Suu Kyi about trade with Myanmar, David Cameron urges the other EU members to ease sanctions.
16-Apr-12 Australia eases sanctions. Travel and financial sanctions on that were in place against some 260 Burmese nationals, including Thein Sein, to be lifted by the Australian government.
17-Apr-12 U.S. eases some sanctions. U.s. eases sanctions on financial support of non-profit organisations working in areas such as health, education, etc.
21-Apr-12 Thein Sein visits Japan. Visit to discuss upcoming trads, Myanmar’s debt to Japan as well as possibility of Japan resuming loans to Myanmar.
23-Apr-12 EU agrees to suspend most sanctions. All sanctions from EU to Myanmar are suspended for one year, excluding those on arms or other things that can be used for internal repression.
13-May-12 South Korean Prime Minister Lee Myung-Bak visits Myanmar. During visit, possibility of economic cooperation discussed.
18-May-12 U.S. removes further sanctions. Allow investment in everything excluding military associated businesses and announce nomination of U.S. Myanmar ambassador. This is in response to further political reforms by Myanmar.
2013 Myanmar scheduled to hold 27th Southeast Asian Games. The games are scheduled to be held in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar, as well as two other major cities, Yangon and Mandalay.

Source: Bloomberg, BBC

Motivation for Change – Economic Catch-up a Motivating Force?

The pace of change is breathtaking. It is right to wonder what the motivation really is on the part of the ruling elite, after such a long period of absolute military control. An obvious answer lies in the economy. Myanmar, by most measures of economic and social development, languishes firmly at the bottom of the global league tables. Myanmar places 149th out of the 187 countries ranked by the UNDP in its Human Develop Index rankings. Average life expectancy is a meager 64.88 years versus an ex-Myanmar ASEAN average of 71.7, and nearly a third of the population exist on US$1.25 or less a day (See Figures 2-5 for a summary of basic economic and social measures of development). Per capita GDP at around US$832 is right at the bottom of the ASEAN heap (along with Cambodia), and about 25% less than Laos. Indonesia’s per capita GDP, a country with four times the population, is about for times that of Myanmar. Agriculture makes up some 42% of local GDP, significantly higher than the ASEAN average, but as expected for a country so thoroughly underdeveloped and subsistence based. When one thinks of where Myanmar stood in the economic scheme of things in the first quarter of the 20th century, its current position is a sad indictment of generations of mismanagement and misrule.

So a desire to improve the economic lot of the nation might well be a genuine motivating force for change.

Probably just as a powerful, perhaps, might be a recognition that “pariah state” status is not a sustainable long term political state of affairs. A cursory glance around the region at the nation’s not too distant neighbours would reveal that the transformation to a more accountable political regime has not been all bad for countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, and even to some extent, China.

Figure 2: GDP Per Capita (US$)

GDP Per Capita (US$). Includes: Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Source: IMF

Figure 3: GDP Composition By Sector (%)

GDP Composition by sector (%) for: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Figure 4: Human Development Index Ranking

Human Development Index - Ranking. Includes: Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

Source: UNDP

Figure 5: Population Living Below US$1.25 PPP Per Day (%)

Population Living Below US$1.25 PPP Per Day (%). Includes: Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore.

Source: UNDP

Open to the West to Balance Perceived Neo Colonial Incursions of China

The skeptics in the pundit ranks might argue that another force has been possibly an important factor in the desire of the Generals to open the gates to the world – China’s appearance, in the eyes of many, as a neo colonial force in Myanmar. China’s ‘morally agnostic’ approach to FDI has allowed it to extend deep economic links into Myanmar since the introduction of sanctions. Myanmar’s leaders have no doubt been conscious of both their increasing dependence on their neighbours, and the unpopularity of this state of affairs with the general population; for all China’s economic influence, there has been little benefit to the people of Myanmar in terms of jobs or skills transfer. Opening up to the west, and other parts of Asia, not only might bring economic benefits and investment that is so sorely needed, but might act to redress the balance of China’s dominant position in the investment arena in the country.

China is (quietly) smarting at the Myanmar government’s abrupt suspension in September 2011 of a multi-billion dollar hydro electric scheme in the north of the country, primarily one assumes because it was destined to export some 80%-85% of the electricity generated across the border to China. Meanwhile Myanmar is a country that endures endemic “brown-outs” in its cities, with virtually no electricity in many rural areas.

A Desire to Avoid Appearance at Human Rights Courts?

Dictators and strongmen have often come to a sticky end, sometimes violently in their own countries and sometimes, as we have seen recently, in the human rights and war crimes courts. Human rights abuses have been claimed against leaderships in Myanmar for quite some time, and continue to be so. Avoidance of such an outcome may also provide some element of motivation for change by the current leadership. Opening the doors to Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party via elections, and opening the economic doors to the west may lessen the appetite of key western countries to push for appearances in international courts.

At the Bottom of the Economic Heap – Only One Way to Go!

A cursory glance at the statistics reveals how behind the curve Myanmar is in so many areas.

In 2010, Myanmar had net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of only US$450 million, against a total for ASEAN of approximately US$76 billion net (includes inflows and outflows, and therefore can be a negative number). Only Cambodia ranked lower. Even Vietnam’s total of some US$8 billion swamps that for Myanmar.

Electricity consumption per capita is very much at the low end of the scale, with a kWh per capital electricity consumption of one tenth that of Vietnam (see Figure 6). Telephone penetration is a tiny 3%, and wireless penetration is around 4% (see Figure 7). Only a couple of years ago, we understand, a SIM card for a mobile phone in Myanmar cost around UD$3,000, and that some 300,000 people paid that price to obtain mobile phone service. Internet access is around a meager 1%, and given the difficulty we found in getting online in the country, that figure is very much to be believed. This is not likely to remain so for too much longer as a raft of legislation comes on stream that is intended to allow local and foreign investors’ access to bid for a number of telecom licenses. A number of foreign players are believed to be lining up for such bids.

City roads are crowded with ramshackle vehicles of indeterminate age, though recent liberalization of vehicle import rules is bringing increasing flows of new vehicles into the country.

Figure 6: kWh Per Capita Electricity Consumption

kWh Per Capita Electricity Consumption. Includes: Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

Source: ADB

Figure 7: Internet, Mobile, Phone and Telephone Penetration Rates (%)

Internet, Mobile, Phone and Telephone Penetration Rates (%). Includes: Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Source: CIA World Factbook

Figure 8: Vehicles Per Thousand People (Not Including Two Wheelers)

Vehicles Per Thousand People (Not Including Two Wheelers). Includes: Brunei Darussalan, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, China, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, India, Vietnam and Myanmar.

Source: The World Bank

A Refreshing Absence of “Brands”

One cannot help but notice the almost complete absence of brands. There is no Starbucks, KFC, Burger King, McDonald’s – probably all the better for the nation’s health. There is no HSBC, no Citibank, no Standard Chartered. There is no Johnson and Johnson – Coca-Cola does appear somewhere but infrequently! No luxury brands – Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Bally and the like.

But this state of affairs is unlikely to last very long!

Infrastructure is Dire

The entire country endures a woeful shortage of electricity, with even Yangon facing many hours of brown-outs each day. Every factory or business has its own standby diesel fired generators running for long periods each day. The pavements in Yangon are cluttered with generators installed on curbs feeding electricity into adjacent residential blocks and shops.

The rural areas for the most part simply have no electricity at all. On my 350km drive from Yangon to the capital Naypyidaw, there was not a single power line to be seen anywhere in the countryside except within one or two small villages. The land on this route is fertile and actively farmed, but there was not a single piece of mechanized farm equipment to be seen. Not even a petrol driven handcart, no tractors, not even any trucks on the land. Agriculture is pursued purely by the sweat of the brow and that of many oxen. Farming is done at little more than a subsistence level, with the farming community living in palm covered lean-to structures for the most part.

Badly needed Foreign Investment to be Made a Bit Easier

A new foreign investment law is about to be executed – it has been passed by both houses of parliament and is now awaiting ratification by the President. The new legislation will supposedly put foreign and local business on a level playing field – foreign businesses have hitherto operated under very different rules from local companies.

The new law permits, amongst other things, 100% foreign ownership of a business in Myanmar, or a joint venture with a local company with a minimum foreign shareholding of 35%. Changes to land laws are envisaged. Foreign entities can hold land under long term leases, with the length of these to be extended under new arrangements. New and longer exemptions for income tax for foreign companies are to be implemented, with exemptions for imports of capital goods and raw materials.

Foreign banks may be permitted to establish a representative office, but not yet a branch office, which is still an impediment to foreign investors. Foreign currency accounts are permitted and the ability to transfer foreign currency exists. Personally, I would like to put that one to the test!

Three special economic zones (SEZ) have been established along the coast with the aim of developing industry, energy and trading. The southernmost of these, Dawei, has significant involvement with the Thai-listed construction company Italian Thai Development (ITD:TB), and will provide links across a narrow part of the country to Bangkok and its hinterlands.

The northern most SEZ is planned to be the coastal terminal of a 1,000 km gas and an oil pipeline stretching across Myanmar into western China terminating in Kunming. This pipeline should prove hugely beneficial for western China whose energy supplies must now pass through the Malacca Straits, ending in a port on the eastern coast of China before being transported several thousand kilometers inland to the west. Companies involved in the project include Korea’s Daewoo International Corp (047050:KS) which has a majority stake in the offshore Shwe Gas Fields, and China National Petroleum Corporation which is the main owner and operator of the onshore gas pipeline.

While foreign investment is sorely needed, there are currently few avenues for this to occur. There is no stock market through which to invest or for companies to raise capital. There is no bond market. At this stage there is no private equity involvement of any significance, though there may be some “friends and family” syndicates doing small investment in a range of activities.

The word locally is that a stock market will be open in 2015. I have little means to determine if that is a realistic target, but it seems clearly in the country’s interest to move quickly towards the establishment of capital markets.

It Seems For Real! But Execution is Still a Big Question Mark

From our recent study visit to Myanmar which brought us in contact with a range of government officials and departments both in Yangon and the capital Naypyidaw, as well as various business leaders, companies and professionals such as lawyers and accountants, it is hard to come away unimpressed with the pace and apparent commitment to change. This is both at the economic as well as at the political level. At the highest level of government, the commitment to reform does seem clear and unwavering, at least right now. Once it gains a foothold in the real economy it will be difficult to reverse the process. However, we are reminded, for example, of the stop/go nature of Vietnam’s “opening up”. Its commitment to change at a political level seems less than clear, with the result that the opening of the economy seems to be going in fits and starts, rather than a clear and unequivocal path that we have seen in say, China for example.

The nagging suspicion one has is that the ability to execute such rapid and far reaching change in Myanmar may be questionable. It is all very well for the senior leadership to enact rafts of new foreign investment laws, land laws, transport, telecommunications and insurance laws, not to mention environmental, mining and energy laws, but the ability of the middle levels of government to actually execute such laws on the ground must be questionable. How is the department head, or regional official going to react to these dramatic changes, without a set of clear procedures to follow? The danger is that officialdom will withdraw back into the myriads of red-tape and bureaucracy that has been the pattern of the past. Laws, on their own, are simply the beginning. The institutional machinery, procedures, skills and systems within the government machinery are still very much lacking and may stall the achievement of the good intentions of the top leadership.

Bringing Back the Educated Myanmar Diaspora

As much as monetary investment, Myanmar needs skills and expertise in a wide range of business and professional functions. This should hardly be surprising in a country where large numbers of the country’s educated middle classes have migrated abroad seeking better work and economic prospects, and the total mean duration of schooling is a paltry 4 years. The country has been largely sealed off from the outside world of finance, business, professional services, and of course, capital.

A frequently stated policy goal we heard from most of the government and business leaders we met in the country is to attract back to Myanmar the hundreds of thousands of highly skilled people who have left the country for greener pastures abroad; Thailand and Malaysia being the most oft-quoted destinations for the emigrating Burmese. That may be a laudable strategy and could prove to be a help in the short term, but the development of educational facilities within the country must be a preferred longer term goal.

Limited Ways to Play Myanmar’s Emergence as Yet, But There Are Some!

As noted above, there is no stock market in Myanmar, and is unlikely to be so before 2015 – though some optimists suggest that 2013 might be achievable. That view seems immensely optimistic, though we are aware that various organizations, including Daiwa from Japan, have been working with the Myanmar central bank on an advisory basis towards establishment of a local stock market.

There are as yet, as far as I am aware, no private equity funds active in Myanmar, but do understand that one or two of the larger US/European private equity shops are in the early stages of reconnaissance. It is probably a year or so before any significant private equity offerings might come to the market. But even with the huge enthusiasm that Myanmar is generating right now it is perhaps worth noting how few such funds are active in markets such as Vietnam and Cambodia which have been on investment radar screens for so much longer.

Real Estate will Probably Attract Early Stage Capital

Real estate is definitely an area that could attract capital on a deal by deal basis in the not too distant future. On the face of it the rules do permit such foreign investment, and investment in the hotel sector is actively being promoted by government. With the huge surge in business and other travel to the country, the small numbers of international standard hotels are creaking at the seams. In the past 6 to 9 months, local business people indicate that room rates have at least doubled and in some cases have risen by 3 to 4 times. The only major international brand hotel in Yangon at this stage is the Shangri-La Group’s Traders Hotel.

There is currently only one office building in Yangon (Rangoon) that could just about be ranked as an “A” grade office. It is only just nearing completion and has been stalled for quite some time during construction. It is small, but well located, with about 20 floors of modest floor plan size. The current state of play in Yangon reminds me of Shanghai in 1984 when there was just one “modern” office building in the city, with another under construction, and the pundits were complaining that this building would likely “ruin the market by doubling supply, and lowering rentals”. It was hard to imagine that a decade later Shanghai would have more than 120 new office blocks completed or under construction.

A similar fate may await Yangon, though it is tough to see the pace of development quite as frantic as that of Shanghai. Modern apartment blocks are few and far between, and those that are around are of modest quality (to be kind) and are quite small. However, there is some quite desirable new housing being constructed on the outskirts of the city (more on that later).

Like India a decade ago, there are no malls, no shopping centres of any scale at all, the retail market being dominated by “mom and pop” shops that prevailed in much of Asia. Probably not a major priority at this stage.

Yangon City Centre Could Qualify for “Heritage” Status

The centre of Yangon is a walk back in time, with the entire area made up of old colonial buildings, many from the art deco era. After 80 years of neglect and lack of maintenance, the city inevitably has that run down air about it. But a great many of the buildings are of considerable architectural merit, and structurally seem in OK condition. It is to be hoped that the authorities embark on a program of incentives to refurbish and repair these historic buildings rather than go full steam ahead with demolition as has been so sadly the case in many Chinese cities.

These areas may well provide fertile ground for foreign real estate investment. We were informed that tenancy laws make emptying residential buildings for refurbishment relatively simple.

Lack of Investment Alternatives Drives Land Prices Skywards

Given the absence of large scale real estate development at this stage, one might be driven to believe that the real estate market is dull. Well, you would be wrong. Land prices have skyrocketed in many parts of the major cities in the past couple of years. Why? How come? One explanation lies in the realization that, although the country as a whole is at the bottom of the economic heap, there is considerable wealth and savings concentrated in some hands, particularly those involved in the jade and minerals businesses and also energy. With so few outlets for investment, much of this wealth is finding its way into land, pushing prices through the roof. Just a cursory analysis of prices being paid for industrial land is simply not viable. It is not the first time that we have seen these kinds of excesses in Asia.

Summary: So Far to Run

During my recent visit to Myanmar, someone referred to the country as a ‘blank canvas’, an apt description in many ways. The nature of the picture that will emerge on this canvas over the next few years is unknown, but one feels the country’s characteristics make its future growth prospects somewhat ‘spring-loaded’ by;

  • A relatively young and low-cost labour force of roughly 32 million;
  • Nearly 90% literacy despite low levels of schooling and investment in education coupled with widely spoken English;
  • Huge natural resource wealth; and,
  • Massive capacity for growth in all economic sectors, everything from power generation and infrastructure, to mobile phones.

Transitions from impoverished military dictatorships to open and democratic economies are seldom orderly, however the process that Myanmar has embarked on represents an interesting phenomenon in that it is a result of ‘top-down’ transition at the behest of the military.

Some Very Limited Exposure to Myanmar Can Be Had from Regional Markets

In the absence of a local capital market, there are limited ways to play Myanmar’s emergence into the community of nations through public markets. And as noted above, it may be a little while before mainstream private equity funds set up shop in the country.

YOMA: SP – The Purest Play on Myanmar. A Real Estate Based Vehicle Listed in Singapore

Probably the purest listed company play on Myanmar’s emergence is Singapore-listed YOMA. This company is controlled by Serge Pun, a Burmese born citizen who has lived and worked in Hong Kong and China for many years. I have been acquainted with Serge since the mid 1980’s in Hong Kong, and more recently his property activities in China. In the late 1980’s/early 1990’s he returned to Myanmar and began a series of business ventures, with the now listed YOMA holding primarily real estate assets but also agricultural investments and a truck dealership business. The group, outside the listed vehicle, has a raft of other ventures including insurance, banking/finance, hotel/tourism, telecoms, trading, and car hiring.

The private company has recently embarked on a large scale mid-priced residential/commercial development comprising appropriately 9,000 residential units and about 1.6 million square feet of commercial floor space. It is intended that a majority interest in this development will be injected into YOMA.

The company has recently appointed a good friend of mine, Andrew Rickards, as CEO. Andrew comes from a background in investment banking and private equity (Barclays, Goldman Sachs, Rothschil, Providence private equity).

In the interests of full disclosure, I confirm that I own the stock.

With a market capitalization of around US$150 million, YOMA is clearly a small cap play. However, it is well positioned and pushing forwards with its plans to become a major force in the emergence of the country. Its listing in Singapore should also ensure a decent degree of disclosure and transparency, something that may be missing in many local businesses.

Figure 9: Yoma Share Price – 12 Months (SGD)

Yoma Share Price - 12 Months (SGD) from May 2011-May 2012.

Source: Thomson Reuters

SUPER:SP. Super Group Limited

Super Group, another Singapore listed company has meaningful exposure to the Myanmar market. This US$865 million market cap company is involved in the manufacture and distribution of food and beverage products such as instant coffee powders, creamers, instant cereal, cup noodles, canned drinks and tea, as well as providing vending machine services. We understand that the company gets about 16% of its revenue from Myanmar, and has something like 30%-50% market share for instant coffee in Myanmar. Total revenues for the company in 2011 amounted to around US$346 million with net profit of around US$49 million.

Figure 10: Super Group Share Price – 12 Months (SGD)

Super Group Share Price - 12 Months ending May 2012 (SGD).

Source: Thomson Reuters

ITRR:SP – Interra Resources Limited

Interra is involved mainly in exploration and extraction of oil in Myanmar, where it has rights to operate two oil fields covering an area of 1,800 square kilometres. Oil production from its Myanmar properties at this stage is very small – approximately 802,000 barrels in 2011. Its estimated 2011 revenue mix was about 64% from Myanmar and 36% from Indonesia. Its market capitalization of around US$68 million puts it in microcap status.

Figure 11: Interra Resources Share Price – 12 Months (SGD)

Interra Resources Share Price - 12 Months (SGD) ending May 2012.

Source: Thomson Reuters

PTTEP:TB – PTT Exploration and Production – Large Cap Oil/Gas Play Listed in Thailand

PTTEP is a subsidiary of the Petroleum Authority of Thailand and is involved in oil and gas exploration, development of oil and gas fields for production. At the end of 2010, PTTEP had about 30% of its reserves in Myanmar, and this is likely to increase. The company has been active in Myanmar for many years and may benefit from the easing of sanctions as foreign companies seek to gain a foothold in Myanmar’s oil and gas resources. Myanmar’s energy fields are important for Thailand as Thailand uses natural gas for about 70% of its power generation, and as much as 20% of Thailand’s natural gas needs are met by gas from Myanmar. With a market capitalization of around US$16.8 billion, it is probably the largest stock with meaningful exposure to Myanmar.

Figure 12: PTT Share Price – 12 Months (SGD)

PTT Share Price - 12 Months (SGD) ending May 2012

Source: Thomson Reuters

ITD:TB – Italian Thai Development – 60 Year BOT Concession for Port/Industrial Estate

In 2010 Italian Thai was granted a 60 year concession to develop a deep sea port and industrial estate in the southern special economic zone of Dawei. The deal includes the development of a cross border road/rail/pipeline to Thailand. The concession covers a land area of around 2,500 hectares. Total investment could be in the range of US$8 billion. There has been little progress on implementation of the port and industrial estate as yet, but a 132 kilometre stretch of road linking Dawei to Thailand has been completed. So far Myanmar generated income for ITD is small, and some analysts question ITD’s ability to fund its commitments in this project. An investment budget of around US$8 billion does seem to be something of a stretch for a company whose market capitalization is around US$440 million.

Figure 13: ITD Share Price – 12 Months (THB)

ITD Share Price - 12 Months (THB) ending May 2012.

Source: Thomson Reuters

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