Yoma updates on business after Myanmar coup; shares plunge 25%

Office employees of Yoma and Memories have been asked to work from home for a week from Feb 1, 2021.
Office employees of Yoma and Memories have been asked to work from home for a week from Feb 1, 2021.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Yoma Strategic and the spin-off of its tourism arm, Memories Group, issued business updates in the wake of a military coup in Myanmar, with Yoma shares plunging after trading resumed on Wednesday (Feb 3).

Both Myanmar-based companies said that the country's political situation remains unclear at this stage as it continues to evolve, and warned of a potential change in business sentiment, in their respective late night filings on Tuesday.

They also noted that some of their businesses were disrupted intermittently on Monday due to outages in the telecommunications network which has since recovered.

Yoma was trading down 7.0 cents or 25.5 per cent to 20.5 cents, with 53.6 million shares traded, as of 3.02pm on Wednesday after a two-day trading halt.

To recap, Myanmar's military declared a one-year state of emergency on Feb 1, 2021 after arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior officials. The military on Tuesday instructed airlines to suspend all flights until April 30, and reopened the country's stock exchange for trading from Wednesday.

Office employees of Yoma and Memories have been asked to work from home for a week from Feb 1, 2021 and take any necessary precautions to stay safe.

In its filing, Yoma said its business services including Wave Money, the KFC and YKKO restaurants, and the group's logistics businesses have resumed operations as cities in Myanmar remained calm as at the time of the announcement.

Heads of the group's businesses are "working closely with the frontline staff to monitor the situation closely" stated Yoma, adding that it is still too early to ascertain the longer-term impact to the group's businesses.

Memories said its Awei Metta hotel remains open and continues to receive guests, while the group has refocused its sales and marketing efforts towards the domestic market as the Covid-19 pandemic has already greatly affected the tourism sector in Myanmar.

Its other assets including four hotels, Balloons Over Bagan and Burma Boating remain closed due to Covid-19 related travel restrictions.

Memories said that while it is still too early to assess the impacts of Myanmar's political crisis on its tourism business, it could be "reasonably assumed that interest of tourists from Western countries would be dampened in the near future".

The outlook on the tourism sector in Myanmar would largely depend on how long it would take for Myanmar to return to normalcy, said the group.