Yoma Strategic, Ayala Corp form JV to develop energy, power in Myanmar

16, Oct. 2019

A solar power facility installed by Yoma Micro Power in the western region of Sagaing, Myanmar. (Photo courtesy of Yoma Strategic Holdings)
A solar power facility installed by Yoma Micro Power in the western region of Sagaing, Myanmar. (Photo courtesy of Yoma Strategic Holdings)

MANILA, NNA – Myanmar conglomerate Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. and a branch of the Philippine-based Ayala Corp. will jointly explore developing renewable energy projects in Myanmar, which has one of the lowest electrification rates in Asia.

The two groups said in a joint statement Monday that Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic and AC Energy Inc. under the Ayala conglomerate will form a joint venture to invest at least $30 million in Yoma Micro Power. The venture plans to increase its holding share in Yoma Micro Power at least 50 percent in 2020.

The venture, based in Singapore, will operate a micro power plant and a mini grid system for supplying electricity to off-grid rural households and telecommunications towers in Myanmar.

More than 60 percent of population in Myanmar live without electricity especially in rural areas, the statement said.

“Supply of electricity is one of the largest opportunities in Myanmar and also one of the biggest bottlenecks for economic development,” Melvin Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic, said in the statement.

Yoma Micro Power will look also into developing around 200,000 kilowatts of additional renewable projects in Myanmar, including large-scale ones. The venture launched pilot power projects at 10 sites in Myanmar last year and is planning to roll out up to 250 micro power plants by the end of 2019.

“Our combined expertise, strong financing capabilities, and AC Energy’s commitment to shore up presence in the fast-growing region will provide a critical platform for growth in the country,” AC Energy Chief Operating Officer Patrick Clausse said in the statement.

The two groups cited a World Bank estimate in June that electricity consumption in Myanmar will grow at an annual rate of 11 percent until 2030.

The Myanmar government plans to boost solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power generation to 10 percent of the country’s total installed output capacity in 2030, according to Myanmar Energy Master Plan.

The joint venture partners believe the Myanmar government’s recent hike in electricity tariffs made solar power more attractive, particularly to commercial and industrial establishments.

“There is a need to significantly increase generation capacity and build out last-mile distribution infrastructure, which Yoma Micro Power has embarked upon,” Pun said.

Yoma Strategic holds a 35 percent stake in Yoma Micro Power, while Norfund, Norwegian investment fund for developing countries, and the International Finance Corp. holds 30 percent each. The remaining 5 percent is owned by a senior executive and officials of Yoma Micro Power, according to the statement.