Thailand Business Roundup October 2016

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Thailand Business Roundup October 2016

Thailand’s listed Group Lease Pcl recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to acquire a 71.9 percent stake in BG Microfinance Myanmar Co Ltd (BGMM) from Sri Lanka’s listed finance firm Commercial Credit.

“We are doing the due diligence, which should be completed [by September]. Then, we will start to recognise the revenue from Myanmar [from] the fourth quarter onward,” Group Lease’s chief executive Mitsuji Konoshita told the media.

BGMM has been doing business in Myanmar for more than two years and obtained a permanent license in November 2015.

It provides micro loans to women, considered the focal point of the overall development of the family unit, and by a group of five members each collectively responsible for each member. Loan maturity is fixed at 50 weeks and repayment collection is made on a weekly basis.

This is the fifth Asean country that Group Lease has invested in.

With around 9,800 clients, BGMM has already provided loans worth US$1.5 million in total and makes a monthly profit of $20,000.

It plans to boost its loan portfolio from $1.5 million to $30-$40 million next year and open more branches to cover 12 provinces across Myanmar.

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Bangkok-based and Singapore-incorporated e-commerce company Zilingo closed a US$8 million Series A investment in August in a round led by Venturra Capital, Sequoia India, and Susquehanna International Group.

Other participating investors were Wavemaker Partners, Beenext, Beenos and Digital Garage.

In 2015 Zilingo raised US$2 million from Beenext, Sequoia Capital and two angels, Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon of Freecharge.

The investments will fund its expansion into Indonesia, the deepening of its footprint in Thailand and Singapore as well as the acquisition of more sellers to its online marketplace.

Zilingo was founded by former Sequoia India analyst Ankiti Bose (CEO) and ex-Yahoo engineer Dhruv Kapoor (CTO) after a trip to Bangkok got them interested in fashion in Southeast Asia, which eventually led to them building a marketplace for fashion sellers in Thailand and Singapore.

The pair noticed the immense potential of “small and medium sized enterprises that exist in huge numbers across the region. People love shopping from them, which is what has made Bangkok the shopping capital of Asia. Bangkok’s markets like Chatuchak and Pratunam for instance, are extremely famous not just in Thailand but also in Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and rest of South and Southeast Asia,” they were quoted as saying.

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Singha Estate, a property developer under the Singha Group, is planning more hotel acquisitions in the United Kingdom, which could be in the 700 million baht size range and it is hoping to close the deals before the end of the year.

Singha Estate announced the acquisitions would include two hotels in England and one in Scotland, each with 70 rooms.

Last year, it launched a joint venture with FICO Corporation to acquire 26 Mercure-brand hotels under the Jupiter Hotels portfolio.

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