Singapore GIC, Norwegian fund invest $92 mil. in Myanmar’s Yoma Bank
BANGKOK, NNA - An affiliate of GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, and Norway’s Norfund have invested 131 billion kyat ($91.8 million) in Myanmar’s Yoma Bank Ltd. as the country eases regulation on foreign capital entering its banking industry.
Once the transactions are completed, GIC’s affiliate Greenwood Capital Pte. Ltd. and Norfund, the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries, will own 20 percent and 10 percent, respectively, of Yoma Bank, one of Myanmar’s largest private banks.
“While the demand for credit solutions continues to grow, the new foreign investment solidifies our capital position in the market and will further enhance our ability to be a leader in financing businesses,” Yoma Bank CEO Dean Cleland said in a press release issued on April 9, 2020.
Additionally, the largest shareholder, First Myanmar Investment Co. (FMI), which is part of Yoma Group, will also increase its stake in Yoma Bank to 61.99 percent.
Meanwhile, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will hold a 4.48 percent stake in the lender in Myanmar. IFC became the first foreign stakeholder in Yoma Bank and converted its convertible loan into equity in May 2019.
Yoma Bank, which was established in 1993 as an affiliate of Myanmar conglomerate Serge Pun & Associates (SPA), runs about 80 branches in the country and has about $2.1 billion in total assets.
Myanmar’s banking sector has been undergoing deregulation. Last year, the country eased regulation for foreign institutions to invest in local banks. Starting from January this year, foreign investors are also allowed to take more than 35 percent in local companies.
Earlier this month, Thailand’s Kasikornbank announced it would buy a 35 percent interest in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Development Bank.