Friday 22 November 2019

Yoma plans Singapore school as it moves 'upmarket'

Highrise financial district office buildings in Singapore
Highrise financial district office buildings in Singapore

Yasmine Ng

YOMA Strategic Holdings, a developer of Myanmar properties, will build more "upmarket" homes and boost prices by as much as 30pc with plans for a school overseen by London's Dulwich College in a Yangon suburb.

The company said today it reached an agreement with Dulwich for the international school in the Thanlyin township.

Singapore-based Yoma's site for the education facility, which will also include a local private school, is adjacent to its Star City housing development that will include 9,000 homes, according to Chief Executive Officer Andrew Rickards.

"It will attract a certain level of expatriates to live there," Rickards said in an interview in Singapore. "Having a school next to your residential development is a big boost."

Yoma, which gets almost all of its sales from Myanmar, is positioning itself to take advantage as the natural gas-rich Southeast Asian country the size of Texas reconnects with the global economy following five decades of isolation during military rule.

Real estate will make up half of its revenue in five years, down from 90pc now, as the company expands into new businesses including agriculture, tourism, education and automotive, Rickards said in a briefing today.

Dulwich is also opening the first British independent school in Singapore in August. The college's alumni include novelist Raymond Chandler and Eddie George, a former Bank of England governor.

"The demand will be very well sustained going forward," said Tan Ai Teng, an analyst at DBS Group Holdings Ltd., who has a buy recommendation on the stock. "It's a very good move on the part of Yoma to put premier education institutions near their site."

Yoma shares rose 1.4pc to 72 Singapore cents at the close in Singapore, the highest in more than a month. The gain helped pare losses this year to 4pc, compared with a 1.2pc decline in the Singapore benchmark 'Straits Times' Index. (Bloomberg)

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