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Ups and downs
The Burmese currency on Friday was valued at 1,236 kyat per US dollar, slightly weaker than 1,240 to the greenback the week before. The kyat was trading at 901.86 to the Singaporean dollar, 199.07 to the Chinese yuan, 159.47 to the Hong Kong dollar and 35.34 to the Thai baht. Gold was buying at 38,706.04 kyat per gram, and selling at 42,780.36 per gram in Rangoon.
Burma cuts deal with F&N after beer dispute
A Burmese conglomerate has appealed to the Singapore High Court to help settle a dispute over a deal dating back to 2013 concerning the corporation’s holding value. Government-backed Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) has asked the court to order food and drink company Fraser and Neave Ltd (F&N) to transfer its 55 percent stake in Burma’s biggest brewery to the firm by 20 August. MEHL plans to pay F&N 500 billion kyat (US$407 million) for the stake in Myanmar Brewery, a price set by an independent valuer. But F&N, backed by Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, says the sale should be completed in U.S. dollars based on a 2013 exchange rate, estimating the fair value of its stake to be $560 million.
Thai power plant awaits approval in Myeik
SET-listed Global Power Synergy Plc (GPSC), Thailand’s leading producer and distributor for utilities, is awaiting the Burmese government’s decision regarding a request for the construction and operation of a 2,000-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Myeik [Mergui] in southern Burma after a recent feasibility study and environmental impact assessment. It plans to invest in the project with partners Japanese Marubeni Corporation, the international arm of Thailand’s Electricity Generating Authority, Bangkok-based SRI Energy Co and Burma-based Ayeyar Hinthar Holdings Co.
Thilawa opens fuel terminal
Thilawa’s new oil storage and terminal was opened on Sunday, bringing the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) one step closer to completion. According to state media, the Myanmar Port Authority has leased 420 acres of land in Thilawa to 14 private companies through agreements known as Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) for oil depots, tanks and terminals.
Thai telecoms firm ventures into Burmese broadband
Thai telecommunications firm Benchachinda Group has launched a joint venture into the Burmese market with promises to bring efficient broadband to the country. In collaboration with four other companies and a local business partner, Benchachinda has set up Myanmar Information Highway Limited, which it said aims to become the “leading premium-broadband provider in Myanmar”. The corporation will begin investment in infrastructure and equipment in the second half of 2015, and will begin in Rangoon before moving into other major economic cities.
Apartments for lease in Vietnamese mega-project
Prospective buyers eager to snap up an apartment at the Vietnamese property project HAGL Myanmar Center in Rangoon can now do so, with units opened to the public from Thursday. According to the Myanmar Business Times, the housing units are valued at US$270 per square foot, with rooms ranging from 66 to 119 square feet in size. Quoting HAGL, the news group reported that the residential building, due for completion in 2017, is designed to withstand earthquakes and is equipped with advanced security systems. The 100 percent Vietnamese-owned property will be 31 storeys high and include 660 residential units.
Mercedes releases new car designed for Rangoon traffic
Car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has introduced a new car model promised to be more compatible with Rangoon’s infamous traffic, according to the Myanmar Business Times. Rangoon’s streets are renowned for their heavy traffic, tight parking spaces and road accidents, which previous Mercedes models had difficulty navigating. The new model, the GLA-Class SUV, is smaller and more energy-efficient. Other features include automatic parking and a system requiring drivers to wear a seatbelt before setting off. A GLA-Class is currently priced at around US$80,000.