UK’s CDC Group invests $30m in Myanmar’s telco firm Frontiir

CDC Group, the UK-based development finance institution, has invested $30 million in Yangon’s internet service provider Frontiir, marking its first direct equity investment in Myanmar.

Despite Myanmar’s growing mobile broadband penetration, access to digital services in the country is still very low, which poses a significant challenge to communities and businesses. The data usage there also remains unaffordable.

CDC’s investment will help Frontiir connect over 2 million people on the internet in Myanmar. The company’s service called ‘Myanmar Net’ claims to the fastest-growing internet service in the country since its inception four years ago.

Going forward, Frontiir plans to expand its service coverage to lower-income townships within Yangon and Mandalay, and expects to grow to 22 cities and towns by 2022.

“With CDC’s investment, we are excited to have the opportunity to create thousands of jobs and provide millions with unlimited internet for as low as 200 Kyats ($0.13) per day, and triple our foreign direct investment into Myanmar over the next 3 years,” Frontiir chief executive and chairman Wai Lin Tun said in a statement.

CDC Group, which is also owned by the UK government, is an investment firm that invests in private equity, venture capital, debt and guarantees, mezzanine and other types of investment.

The firm primarily invests in sectors such as financial services, infrastructure, health and education, food processing business, agriculture, manufacturing and construction, among others.

CDC has investments in the Myanmar Opportunities Fund II and Irradwaddy Green Towers, among others. The group recently made headlines for its $40 million investment in Indian grocery delivery firm BigBasket in April this year.

Meanwhile, Frontiir previously raised an undisclosed amount of funding from a private equity fund manager Delta Capital Myanmar in December 2017. Besides, Daiwa PI Partners, an investment arm of Daiwa Securities Group, also invested $6.26 million for a 10 per cent stake in Frontiir.