It was one of those moments that investors and analysts in Thailand have been waiting for: insight into the government’s massive Bt2,000bn ($68bn) infrastructure spending plan.
But rather than a big press conference, it came in a little-publicised lunch talk by Chadchart Sittipunt, Thailand’s transport minister, to members of the Japan-Thailand Association last Friday. Continue reading »
Tens of millions of Thai baht worth of stock trades later, the shoe has finally dropped: the Stock Exchange of Thailand is launching a probe into share price movements of cash-and-carry retailer Siam Makro ahead of Monday’s $6.6bn takeover offer by CP All, the country’s biggest convenience store operator.
As beyondbrics noted, the market was buzzing with rumours for weeks before the announcement. Continue reading »
The biggest domestic M&A deal in Thai history – a $6.6bn takeover by convenience store giant CP All of Siam Makro, a cash-and-carry bulk retailer with just 62 outlets in Thailand – made headlines on Tuesday.
But as one analyst asked on Wednesday, who is kidding who? Continue reading »
With boisterous growth and strong investment, southeast Asia may be looking more vibrant than ever amid the woes besetting the US and European economies. But those very woes are beginning to take a toll on the region’s hitherto robust growth, warns the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.
In its hefty Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2013, issued on Thursday, Escap called on regional governments to consider a “paradigm shift” in their macroeconomic policies. Continue reading »
As beyondbrics reported yesterday, Myanmar’s new trasparency zeal could be a nightmare for China, given the close relationship between the two nations on various projects.
So how are China’s investments in the country going? And which other countries are waiting in the wings? Continue reading »
You're signing what?
It’s hardly a move to please China. Myanmar, up to recently a loyal neighbour with seemingly endless willingness to open up its abundant natural resources to Chinese companies, is preparing to sign the awkwardly-named Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Norway-based EITI, which comprises governments, civil society, international organisations and resources companies, oversees a voluntary regime for the natural resources industry that has struck fear in the boardrooms of multinationals around the world. Continue reading »
Sometimes the most radical changes come from the most unlikely quarters. Take Myanmar, where some of the boldest reforms are emerging from government agencies, parliamentary committees and taskforces with underwhelming names such as Myanmar Microfinance Supervisory Enterprise, the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration, and the Government Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee.
Now comes the Public Services Performance Appraisal Task Force – a powerful body recently created by President Thein Sein to slash government red tape, eliminate duplication and reduce fees and streamline bureaucracy across the gamut of public services. Continue reading »
You know that a country’s tourism industry is really taking off when a Hilton hotel moves in – particularly when that country has faced years of US sanctions. The buzz on the sidelines of Myanmar’s first tourism industry conference this week in Yangon was about Hilton Worldwide’s landmark deal to manage a 300-room hotel in the tallest building in central Yangon: Centrepoint Towers. Continue reading »
The US has taken further steps to ease restrictions on US corporate investment and business activities in Myanmar, following intense debate within the US Treasury and the State department after Washington softened sanctions against the country last July.
The move frees US citizens and companies to conduct business with four of the country’s biggest banks, of a total 19 banks. All four banks have faced US sanctions and at least two of the institutions are controlled by people who have been on so-called US “blacklists”, naming individuals with close business and financial links to the former military regime. Continue reading »
The hoardes of tourists flocking to Bangkok’s temples and bars and to island resorts beyond tell the story of Thailand’s remarkable comeback from the impact of devastating floods in 2011 and violent street clashes in 2010.
So, too, does the charmed performance of Thailand’s stock market, among the best performing markets in Asia last year, as well as record inward foreign investment, roaring bond market and robust economic growth after a miserable zero per cent growth in 2011. Continue reading »
While some investors have gone sour on Vietnam amid a string of financial upheavals, stock market slides and poor economic data, one group which seems more optimistic than ever is KKR – at least on Vietnam’s manufacturing sector and the market for pungent fish sauce, chilli and soya sauces, instant coffee and noodles.
The US buyout group on Tuesday agreed to invest a further $200m in one of Vietnam’s largest food companies, Masan Consumer. The deal amounts to the biggest single private equity investment in Vietnam and follows KKR’s initial investment of $159m in Masan Consumer in 2011. Continue reading »
Surprise, surprise. When it comes to words and actions of big companies, yet again we find that rhetoric belies reality – this time courtesy of The Economist Corporate Network.
The Economist group’s emerging markets advisory arm compiles an annual survey of leading corporate executives on their attitudes and investment patterns in Asia. In its report, Investing in an Accelerating Asia?, the group found that investment in Asia by global multinational corporations is lagging the expectations, forecasts and optimism voiced by their top executives. Continue reading »
It is hardly surprising to see mixed economic views of a country or region. But these days, Asia has become a forecasters’ chop-suey of tasty and unpalatable tidbits.
While it boasts growing internal markets, strong capital inflows and still-impressive annual growth among some economies, the region remains vulnerable to global slowdowns, the whims of western central banks, natural disasters and inadequate regional co-operation. Among the growing stream of mixed messages on the region’s trajectory came the United Nations Economic and Social commission for Asia and the Pacific, launched on Friday in Bangkok. Continue reading »
For months, residents in an affluent part of Pattaya, a seaside resort town near Bangkok, assumed that the three foreign men who lived in a nearby luxury villa ran an import-export business, because, as one resident told local media, people “who looked like businessmen” came and went throughout the day.
It was not the sort of export-import the locals envisaged, as they learned when the villa became the target of one of Thailand’s biggest-ever drug busts in late November. Continue reading »
Australia’s ANZ has become the first western bank to gain approval from Myanmar’s authorities to open a representative office since the easing of western sanctions earlier this year.
ANZ, which plans to open its doors early in 2013, will likely be followed by Standard Chartered Bank, which is not far behind with its preparations, having secured in-principle approval. HSBC is also pressing for permission for a representative office, beyondbrics has learned. Continue reading »