Myanmar: Investment firm MIL explores listing on Asian bourse, two new deals

Aung Htun, managing director of Myanmar Investments International Limited. Photo: Juliet Shwe Gaung.

AIM-listed Myanmar Investments International Limited (MIL) is considering a listing on an Asian bourse to increase its liquidity and gain more retail investors. A company executive said its preferred destination would be a market close to Myanmar.

“We believe that Asian investors are more likely to buy Asian stocks because it is near. Being listed in an Asian market, we believe, will lead to more retail interest and therefore more liquidity,” MIL managing director Aung Htun told DEALSTREETASIA.

MIL is currently studying different markets and expects to come up with a decision in the next three months.

Expanding its shareholder base remains a key priority for MIL. With previous investments in Myanmar Finance International Limited (MFIL) and Apollo Towers, the firm has already roped in some institutional investors.

One is the Norwegian Government’s Development Finance Institution which is now an investor in MFIL. MIL had invested $2 million in the finance firm for a 37.5 percent stake in 2014. Its warrants will be due by June next year. If all of the holders exercise their warrants, the company will raise about $12 million.

“We are looking at every single way to continually increase liquidity,” said Htun.

With a cash pile of about $10 million, the Myanmar-focused investment firm is also exploring opportunities for new deals. It recently completed a $7.3 million equity fundraising through an issue of over 5 million new shares.

Htun said MIL hopes to conclude two new deals with a ticket size of about $3 million each and is exploring the food and beverages and healthcare segments for potential acquisitions.

A portion of the funds raised will also go towards expanding its recently announced pharmacy, healthcare and personal care joint venture in Myanmar. MIL has invested $495,000 for a 45 percent stake in the JV. The firm plans to invest an additional $5 million as the JV grows.

MIL is also expecting to close a joint venture investment in the tourism space by early August. The investment will be in a local company that has been operating for about two decades and is already profitable, Htun said.

“Tourism from this base can grow a lot. We’re quite interested to have an involvement in that,” said Htun. He also expects outbound tourism to pick up significantly. “I see a really bright future for that,” Htun said. “The cheque size (in the JV) is around a million dollar initially and as they start to expand, we will put in more.”

While the frontier market is yet to offer investors more confidence outside the already predicted risks, Htun said “the potential outweighs the difficulty.”

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