UOB sees investment opportunities in Myanmar for Singapore companies

UOB sees opportunities for Singapore companies to invest in Myanmar and leverage on its growth.
UOB sees opportunities for Singapore companies to invest in Myanmar and leverage on its growth.PHOTO: UOB

SINGAPORE - The United Overseas Bank Group (UOB) sees opportunities for Singapore companies to invest in Myanmar and leverage on its growth, as manufacturing, hospitality and infrastructure sectors in the Asean country are set to expand in coming years.

"Based on market research and our own internal analysis, we believe these sectors should contribute to 70 per cent of Myanmar's GDP by 2030," UOB managing director Mr Ian Wong told The Straits Times.

Mr Wong said the bank's clients are intending to invest nearly US$300 million (S$405 million) in Myanmar's manufacturing and hospitality sectors over the next 12 months. These clients include multinational and regional companies from Europe and Asia and the bank supports their investments through corporate loans, cash management and trade financing.

Mr Wong also said that he expects manufacturing firms to relocate to Myanmar to lower costs, and business travellers and holidaymakers visiting the country to double over the next few years.

He noted that in manufacturing, some clients are seeking to build automotive show rooms, service centres and distribution facilities. They are also interested in manufacturing and distributing beverages for mass consumption.

In the hospitality sector, some are seeking to build hotels to serve business travelers.

Mr Wong expects to see clients invest more in Myanmar's infrastructure and energy sectors, even though relatively fewer plans have been made for these sectors for the next year.

Making decisions on investing in these sectors requires more time as regulatory approval is required and larger investment amounts are involved, he said.

UOB, Singapore's third-largest bank by assets, opened its first branch in Yangon in May, 2015. It set up a Foreign Direct Investment Advisory Unit in 2013 to help its clients explore business opportunities in the country.

jkoh@sph.com.sg