Foreign companies show growing interest in Thilawa SEZ

A total of 45 companies from 11 countries – including Japan and the United States – have submitted proposals to invest in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a major industrial complex located on the outskirts of Yangon.

More than 17,000 intended subscribers offered to buy a total of more than 4 million shares, at the cost of Ks 10,000 (US$10) a share. Since only 2.1 million shares are still available, many had to be refunded.

Ball Corp, the American beverage cans manufacturer, and Japanese car-spare parts manufacturing company have signed a lease to set up their business in the SEZ together with the Myanmar-Japan Thilawa Development Ltd. on June 6.

The government gave 5,787 acres (23.4 square kilometres) to establish the Thilawa SEZ in September 2013 in southern Yangon District.

However, the 1,345 acres will be left exclusively for glass, iron sheeting and sandal manufacturing plants run by the Myanmar Economic Corporation, governmental offices, quarters and religious buildings.

The first phase of Thilawa SEZ began on November 30 last year. The project is a Myanmar-Japan joint venture with a 51 – 49 percent ownership ratio. Mitsubishi, Sumitomo, and Marubeni corporations from Japan and nine public companies from Myanmar have so far invested in developing the industrial area.

The foreign companies are hesitant to invest in Myanmar because of extortionate land prices. Thilawa SEZ is offering land prices much lower than other industrial zones near the former capital and commercial hub, according to Win Aung, chairperson of the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Source: ELEVEN Myanmar

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