U Yan Win: After parliament, back to business

The National League for Democracy is the people’s choice, he said at his office in Yangon yesterday. “We have to follow the people’s desire.”

Nevertheless, the owner of A1 Group of Companies will have plenty to keep him occupied – with the NLD in power he believes his business prospects are likely to improve.

“Our government has been trying to open the economy, but some countries do not accept it,” he said. “We are sanctioned by the US. Once the government changes I think the situation will be better.”

U Yan Win chairs the Myanma Tourism Federation, and will retain his position despite losing his seat in parliament. He is hoping to set up a bank to support tourism development, which has not yet been approved, and is also a director at the Myanma Tourism Development Public Company.

The company’s debut project – a hotel zone at Tada Oo in Mandalay Region – will require thousands of acres of land owned by farmers.

Some owners have accused the company of using threats to get them to sell. Many are still holding out, said U Yan Win. “Some are happy to give it up, because they don’t want to farm, but others are not so happy because this is their traditional home.”

Myanma Tourism Development has tried to convince remaining farmers to hand over their property, by raising compensation.

“If they still don’t want to sell, we will develop a common farm area as part of the project with new technology,” said U Yan Win. He sees this as a win-win situation. “We can develop our project and they can farm. Some tourists are very interested in farmers’ lives, and will be able to watch.”

Construction is his bread and butter, he says. The A1 Group has built many of Yangon’s landmark buildings, including the Sakura Tower.

It is now is working on two residential projects in Yangon – a 29-storey tower on Kabar Aye Pagoda Road and two 18-storey blocks of government housing – and plans to build a 22-storey luxury condo on Ahlone Road.

Beyond Yangon, A1 is working on projects in Mandalay and Pathein, including a hospital, said U Yan Win.

The company also has interests in garments, mining and oil and gas – subsidiary A1 Mining won onshore block RSF-9 with Swiss firm Geopetrol International Holding in 2011 – though U Yan Win said he has no plans to bid for additional blocks.

The mining company also has a granite quarry in Yebyu township in Tanintharyi Region, and in the future is hoping to mine tin and tungsten deposits near the Thai border.

It had planned to build a coal-fired power plant in Ayeyarwady Region with Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, but the project was reportedly suspended earlier this year due to local opposition.

Construction, infrastructure and communication will be A1’s main focus in the future, said U Yan Win.

In the telecoms space the group owns Yatanarpon Teleport, one-time winner of an elusive fourth operator licence. Initially awarded to YTP, it will now be granted to a consortium of local firms and an international operator.

YTP also runs a fibreoptic cable company and has formed a joint venture with one of China’s largest fiber businesses – Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Company.

“We have signed the deal,” said U Yan Win. “Now we will produce a lot of fiber.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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