Yoma Jumps Most in 4 Months on Myanmar Outlook: Singapore Mover

Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd., a developer of properties in Myanmar, posted its biggest gain in almost four months in Singapore trading on expectations that housing demand will boost earnings.

Yoma climbed 18 percent to 45 Singapore cents at the close in local trading, the biggest gain since Feb. 13. The company, which gets almost all of its sales from Myanmar, may benefit from the 64 million people and reserves of natural gas and lumber as Myanmar reconnects with the global economy following five decades of isolation during military rule.

“Property is a very attractive business to be in, in an emerging, frontier market like this,” Andrew Rickards, chief executive officer of the company, said in an interview with Bloomberg television in Singapore today. Property “tends to be one of the areas that goes up first as people get increasing wealth, the first thing they want to do is buy a property.”

Singapore-based Yoma has been increasing its investments in Myanmar. Profit more than doubled to S$6 million ($4.7 million) in the year ended March 31, it said on May 25. The developer got shareholder approval to buy a 70 percent stake in Star City, a property in Yangon, from its unit Serge Pun & Associates for S$91 million. The project involves the construction of 9,000 residential units as well as shopping and commercial developments. The company expects sales from this project will span out over the next six to eight years.

India will provide $500 million in credit to Myanmar under one of a dozen pacts signed during the first visit by an Indian prime minister to the country’s eastern neighbor in a quarter of a century, according to a statement issued by India’s foreign ministry in New Delhi. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Myanmar on May 27 for a three-day visit.

Yoma’s shares have risen more than sixfold in the past year following political and economic changes in Myanmar since President Thein Sein took over last year. His biggest financial market policy shift so far is an attempt to unify the multiple exchange rates in the Asian nation.

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