Listed on the SGX since 2006, Yoma is a leading conglomerate in Myanmar, with businesses spanning real estate, F&B, automotive & heavy equipment, financial services and investments. In Nov 19, Ayala Corporation acquired a 20% stake in Yoma at S$0.45 per share, valuing the company at S$1,055mn. In May 20, Ant Financial bought 33% of Yoma’s fintech, Wave Money, for US$73.5mn.
We initiate Yoma with a BUY rating. Our target price is S$0.46, implying a total return of 87.8%.
YOMA generates its revenue through 4 key business lines: property (FY19: 44%), F&B (24%), motors (23%) and financial services (7%). Property development has historically been the biggest contributor to Yoma’s topline. However, as Yoma moves towards opening more F&B stores and growing Wave Money, we expect a shift in portfolio towards these growth segments.
A. Yoma Land
Yoma Land is a leading property developer in the country. Boasting one of Myanmar’s largest land bank at 9.3mn sqft, Yoma Land is transforming Yangon’s cityscape across three strategically located flagship developments – StarCity, Yoma Central and The Peninsula Yangon and Pun Hlaing Estate [Fig. 5]. Yoma’s real estate business will be the main beneficiary of the city’s rapid urbanization, rising middle-class population and steady population growth at 0.6%.
Key ongoing projects
1. StarCity. Located along the shore of the Bago River, StarCity is a residential development with a land area of 5.9mn sqft in Thanlyin Township and is the only large-scale residential development located near the Thilawa Special Economic Zone. StarCity is being developed in phases and is expected to feature some 10,000 homes and 1.7mn sqft of commercial space when completed. More than 2,000 properties at StarCity have been sold. Currently, the estate has more than 2,000 residents.
2. Pun Hlaing Estate. Pun Hlaing Estate are luxury homes set on a peninsula between the Hlaing and Pan Hlaing Rivers with a land area of 28.4mn sqft. The estate mainly comprises landed houses and low-rise apartments, set within lush green spaces. The estate offers a unique lifestyle for families with a wide range of amenities, including a world-class 18-hole Gary Player designed golf course which spans across 9.6mn sqft and a sports and country club. More than 400 properties at Pun Hlaing Estate had been sold and currently, the estate has around 800 residents.
3. Yoma Central and The Peninsula Yangon. Yoma Central and The Peninsula Yangon are part of a 0.4mn sqft integrated mixed-use development with a total GFA of approximately 2.44mn sqft. Yoma holds a 48% stake in Yoma Central and a 24% stake in the Peninsula Yangon. Both Yoma Central and The Peninsula Yangon are expected to be completed in 2021. With the collaboration of international partners and financiers and an investment of more than US$800mn, Yoma Central and The Peninsula Yangon are to-date the largest foreign direct investment in Myanmar’s real estate sector and will help to rejuvenate downtown Yangon.
1. Huge land bank equivalent to 10-15 years of sale. Currently comprising 9.3mn sqft across the three developments in Yangon, Yoma’s land bank can accommodate 20mn sqft of gross floor area (GFA) [Fig.5]. The land bank will be developed progressively over the next 10 – 15 years.
2. Myanmar’s growth of middle-class to benefit sales of CityLoft @ StarCity. To take advantage of Myanmar’s growing middle class and the untapped demand for smaller but competitively priced units in Yangon, Yoma Land marked its entry into the mass market segment with CityLoft. As Myanmar’s middle-class population is expected to reach 19mn by 2030, from 7.3mn in 2016, demand for homes in the affordable market segment is expected to gain more traction in the long term.
3. ~8 months equivalent of revenue backlog from CityLoft to boost FY20 earnings. As of 2Q20, 79% of a total of 791 units launched in 6 buildings have been sold/booked. Construction for the initial 5 buildings are between 13% – 61% completed. As percentage of completion method is used, Yoma accumulated a revenue backlog of more than US$20mn from CityLoft’s sales in FY19 that has not been recognized. This will support FY20’s top and bottom-line post-completion.
4. Completion of Yoma Central to boost recurring revenue. Demand for expatriate and corporate housing is expected to grow in line with the expected increase in activities by foreign companies. Recurring revenue stream from retail and commercial leasing is expected to grow significantly post completion of Yoma Central in 2021.
1. Delay in the construction activity to impede revenue recognition for land development. Amidst COVID-19, some of the construction works are either at a standstill or operating at a sub-optimal level. Revenue for CityLoft @ StarCity and Peninsula Residences are recognized on a percentage of completion basis, hence recognition will be correspondingly slowed. In the case of Yoma Central, it continues to be in the construction phase without revenue recognition.
2. Slower leasing activity in the near term to impact rental income from land services. In 2Q20, rental and occupancy rates of Pun Hlaing Estate and StarCity declined as a result of a more competitive leasing environment. Considering the lockdown measures in place which will deter physical inspections and dampen consumer sentiment, leasing activity for 3Q may continue to see more downside.
3. Demand for affordable housing is constrained by a nascent mortgage market and by relatively low returns for developers. Clarifying regulations, resolving uncertainties regarding immovable property rights and ownership records, and expanding credit access could help realize the potential of residential construction.
B. Yoma Financial Services
Yoma Financial Services comprises of 2 business lines – Yoma Fleet and Wave Money (Wave). Yoma Fleet is one of the country’s largest vehicle leasing and rental operators while Wave Money is Myanmar’s leading provider of mobile financial services (MFS) that is licensed to provide mobile-money services such as money transfers, airtime top-ups, bill payments and cash/salary disbursements.
1. Continued growth in fleet size and improved GPM to benefit top and bottom line for Yoma Fleet. As of 6M-Mar20, the fleet size increased by 9.5% YoY to 1,269 vehicles [Fig. 11] and its total assets under management grew by 34.3% to US$46.2mn. As finance leases recognise only the interest component of the lease payment as revenue, the shift in portfolio mix towards finance lease products resulted in better gross profit margins. Separately, post-acquisition of a 20% stake, Tokyo Century – one of Japan’s largest leasing companies – will now partner with Yoma to look at other forms of credit extension to capture a wider opportunity in the non-bank financial services sector.
2. Accelerating growth in Wave Money. Myanmar is largely a cash-based economy with limited bank lending outside of the key cities. Its financial inclusion remains low with over 80% of the population (54mn) currently unbanked, creating opportunities for MFS to provide consumers with a source of credit [Fig. 12]. Currently, there are 5 major bank-led MFS providers and 5 nonbank providers licensed to provide mobile-money services, wire transfers, and direct bill payment. Founded in 2016, Wave Money (Wave) is the first licensed MFS operator in Myanmar. It has 2 main businesses – Over the Counter (OTC) and e-wallet via WavePay.
Profitable and scalable business model attributable to its brand leadership and large network of Wave agents for OTC transactions. Due to the inefficiency of Myanmar’s banking system, Wave leverages on consumers’ desire for money transfer services that are cheaper, reliable and more accessible. To date, Wave has more than 17mn unique customers on its platform and a c.90-95% market share in the OTC business. Covering 93% of the country, Wave’s agent network consists of 57,000 agents, making it more than 20 times larger than that of the traditional bank branches at 2,000 branches. Like banks, consumers just need to visit one of Wave’s agents (be it a local grocery or a pharmacy) to execute a money transfer transaction. However, unlike banks that are charging 5-10%, Wave is offering transaction charges of 1.5% which is 3-6x cheaper. [Refer to Appendix II for a typical OTC transaction and more supporting information on Wave]
In 2019, its transfer volume more than tripled, reaching US$4.3bn (~6% of Myanmar’s GDP). In the same period, its revenue and transaction numbers also tripled. The OTC business continued to grow consistently through the expansion of distribution reach, while the growth in monthly active users (MAUs) accelerated from the investment in marketing and partnerships in the digital business [Fig. 14].
Adoption of WavePay to drive growth for Wave. WavePay was introduced in 2019 as Wave’s digital payments and e-wallet business. To date, WavePay has over 1mn downloads on the Google Play Store and 92 billers integrated into the wallet. 60% of its transactions in Mar20 is attributable to airtime purchased by customers. In Feb20, WavePay announced that it is giving its customers in Myanmar access to merchants of 2C2P – a global payments platform – through a tie-up, which will be rolled out progressively over the coming months. As WavePay continues to integrate more merchants into its platform, we are expecting the adoption of the e-wallet to accelerate past that of the OTC business by 1H21.
Alipay to become a significant minority stakeholder. In May 20, Wave announced that Ant Financial, formerly known as Alipay – the highest valued FinTech company in the world – will join Yoma Group and Telenor Group – one of the world’s largest mobile telecommunications companies – as one of its significant stakeholders. Ant Financial plans to inject US$73.5mn into Wave for a 33% stake, highlighting its confidence in Wave’s business model. After which, Telenor Group and Yoma Group will be diluted down to 34% and 33% respectively. With this partnership, Wave will be able to tap into the experience of Alipay to promote financial inclusion and better serve the underbanked individuals and SMEs in Myanmar.
In the 6M-Mar20, Wave Money’s revenue and transaction number grew by 16.2% and 13.9% QoQ with sustained positive EBITDA. The share of revenue registered from Wave Money of US$4.3mn has yet to reflect the additional 10% stake that Yoma acquired (34% 44%) and the share dilution post stake acquisition of Ant Financial (44% 29.5%).
Growth of MFS fast-tracked by COVID-19. Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, mobile money providers are considered essential businesses and are permitted to operate. The Central Bank of Myanmar promotes the use of mobile money over face-face transactions by increasing the daily transaction limit from 500,000 kyat (S$500) to 1,000,000 kyat (S$1,000), which is favourable for Wave in terms of transaction volume and ticket size. Moving forward, bank branch penetration in Myanmar will continue to be low given that the country sees more closing than openings of bank branches. As Wave embarks on more governmental and B-B projects like helping banks and microfinance companies disburse pensions and collect loans, we are confident that Wave still has lots of room for growth.
C. Yoma F&B
Yoma F&B owns the largest F&B platform in Myanmar. It comprises 3 segments: Restaurants, Bottling and Logistics.
1. Resilient Restaurants to pull through even through tough times. The new contribution from YKKO [Fig. 18] and new net store openings at KFC (Mar19: 33 stores) resulted in 6M-Mar20 Restaurants’ revenue almost doubling that of Mar19. Additionally, improved margins were generated through KFC’s optimization of their cost of goods sold and YKKO’s higher gross profit margins. Amidst COVID-19, Yoma F&B saw a significant increase in delivery sales, from 1.1% of sales in January to 12.4% of sales by the end of Mar20 which cushioned impact from closed dine-in restaurants. Separately, there was little disruption to the restaurants’ supply chains as most of them are localized.
2. Long term outlook for Restaurants hinge on the rising middle-class and economic climate. The Restaurants segment is expected to expand due to the rising discretionary disposable income from Myanmar’s growing middle class. This group of spenders is forecasted to reach 10mn by 2022. Considering the weaker economic climate, Yoma F&B will be closing some of its non-performing stores. It targets to open approximately 2-3 more KFCs by the end of 2020. Should Myanmar’s economy turnaround, it aims to operate 125+ stores nationwide, including 75 KFCs by FY23 [Fig. 19]. Without further economic growth and improved infrastructure and transport, we are looking at a 4-5 net store growth YoY instead of 10-15 stores YoY.
3. More cost synergies from Logistics and the Restaurant business. With the growth of FMCG and other sectors in Myanmar and the increase in cross-border trade, especially with China, the need for reliable logistics is expected to increase as both governments are working to create ‘economic cooperation zones’ along the Myanmar-China border. In 6M-Mar20, KOSPA, Myanmar’s premier third-party logistics provider, has been consolidated as a subsidiary with a 50% stake post-SF Express’s 25% stake acquisition. It benefitted from higher transport and warehouse utilization rates and volume from existing customers.
Yoma also has a 15% stake METRO Myanmar, a leading specialist in food wholesale and retail. METRO Myanmar will offer customers a virtual one-stop-shop solution that combines online trading with delivery services which are made by KOSPA’s fleet of trucks. We see potential cost synergies from these joint ventures moving forward as this end-to-end distribution and logistics platform can complement Yoma’s F&B restaurant businesses.
1. Continued weakness in the Bottling segment. Despite an improvement in performance in 6M-Mar20 and share dilution in Seagram MM (Seagram) from 50% to 19.8%, Seagram – the joint venture designed to produce and distribute alcoholic beverages in Myanmar – is still registering losses. Notwithstanding the new launches in place, we are not optimistic about the sale of premium alcoholic beverages amidst a weakened economy.
2. Competition in the wholesale and retail arena. Wholesale and retail markets are becoming more competitive as they extend their reach into underserved areas. Supported by foreign investment and improved logistics services, retail and wholesale markets expanded geographically and grew at an estimated rate of 7% in 2019, according to Myanmar Economic Monitor. We are expecting the wholesale and retail markets to remain competitive as Myanmar continues to draw FDI into the country. This may impede Yoma F&B’s growth.
D. Yoma Motors
Yoma Motors manages a portfolio of automotive brands covering the agricultural and construction equipment (Heavy Equipment), and passenger and commercial vehicles (PCV).
1. Scalability and profitability of the PCV segment to support Yoma Motors’ top and bottom line. The overall gross margin improved in 6M-Mar20 due to better margin from PCV. Despite lower contributions from Heavy Equipment, its scalability also resulted in a 5x increase in revenue YoY which pushed Yoma Motors closer to breakeven. The increased revenue was driven by the sale of Volkswagen vehicles and Ducati motorbikes.
2. Demand for PCV underpinned by low vehicle penetration and government policies. Supported by a low vehicle penetration rate in Myanmar at 1 unit per 100 people and new government policies to help raise the number of new cars on the road (including control measures on imports of used righthand drive vehicles, which now dominate the market), the demand for PCV is expected to increase.
3. Backlog of PCV sales to support FY20 revenue. Amidst COVID-19, many offices were operating at a reduced capacity, which resulted in a backlog of sales for Volkswagen and Mitsubishi vehicles. The delay in recognition will support the top line in the coming quarters.
4. National Transport Master Plan to lift demand for PCV and Construction Equipment over the next 10 years. Under the National Transport Master Plan, the Myanmar Government is planning to allocate US$21.4bn to rail, road, port and aviation projects by 2030. In Mar19, Yoma JCB successfully landed its first government tender to supply five 20-ton excavators and two 8-ton excavators to the Yangon City Development Committee.
Several large-scale infrastructure projects (e.g. Upgrade of the Yangon-Bago railway and the construction of the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway) are currently either underway or in the pipeline which will create a healthy demand for construction equipment. As Myanmar continues to urbanise, we believe that the Yoma JCB and PCV segment will remain a pillar of support for Yoma Motors.
1. Weaker sales expected from New Holland (Heavy Equipment) amidst a drop in agriculture demand. In 6M-Mar20, fewer tractors were sold as a result of continued weakness in the agricultural sector attributed to COVID-19 due to falling crop prices, persisting export restrictions to India and initial border closures with China and Thailand. Notwithstanding the relaxation of lockdowns, the sales contributed by New Holland from the Heavy Equipment segment is expected to remain slow as tractors are big ticket items for farmers, and they are likely to be cash-strapped from the devoid of sales last quarter.
2. Weather conditions to impact New Holland sales. In 2019, the sales of tractors fell by 35% due to heavy rainfall in the months of May to October [Fig. 20]. According to ASEAN Specialised Meteorological Centre, the rainfall over the northern ASEAN region is forecasted to be below-normal in 2020. Nevertheless, it is still identified as a key risk given that the business can be severely affected by the monsoon season.
3. Although the business environment is improving, the slow recovery of residential projects continues to hinder the growth of the construction sector. According to Myanmar Economic Monitor, the risk of time and cost overruns is discouraging people from buying residential buildings, which account for 50% of total construction activity. Strengthening the mortgage market and expanding credit access could unlock the potential of the residential subsector.
E. Notable Investments
1. Yoma Micro Power (YMP) to gain market share from diesel and promote the use of Wave. In Mar20, one of Yoma’s joint ventures – YMP has finished building 250 micro solar-hybrid power plants which will help power rural Myanmar. As part of YMP’s business model in Myanmar, mobile network operators and tower companies are its anchor clients. They buy electricity generated by the power plants at a cost lower than diesel, which was what the towers previously relied on. The connection is extended to nearby communities which include households, schools, shops and businesses through mini-grid distribution networks. Rural households can pay for the electricity using cash or through Wave Money.
2. Divestment of Edotco Myanmar and potentially Dalian Mall to focus on core assets. Yoma divested its remaining 12.5% stake in Edotco Myanmar for US$57.5mn, monetizing a gain of US$48mn which it will use to expand its core businesses and repay debt. Separately, Yoma has initiated on-going discussions to dispose of its investment in The Grand Central Shopping Mall in Dalian, China. It has thus reclassified the investment as “disposal group classified as held-for-sale”, resulting in the non-recurring fair value loss of approximately US$32mn.
1. Recent fraud case at its subsidiary and lockdowns to pressure performance of Memories Group (MG) in 2020. MG is a leading integrated tourism company in Myanmar which Yoma owns a 33% stake. In Apr20, MG discovered a case of fraud at its wholly-owned Myanmar subsidiary. Any impact of this misappropriation will be reflected in the financial statements of MG for the period ending Sept20. Separately, travel lockdowns that are in place globally amidst COVID-19 will impede MG’s business which is heavily reliant on tourism. These factors will cause a negative overhang for MG in the near term.
Strategic Investor – Ayala Corporation
Ayala Corporation (Ayala) is the oldest and one of the largest conglomerates in the Philippines with core interests in real estate, banking, telecommunications, and power. It has a market cap of US$10.1bn (PHP $507.2bn).
In Nov19, Ayala Corporation (Ayala) has invested US$155mn (S$211mn) for a maximum 20% stake in Yoma, making it the second-largest shareholder. The move is part of an overall US$237.5mn investment by Ayala into the Yoma Group – a 20% stake each in Yoma Strategic and its affiliate First Myanmar Investment Public Co, making it the largest foreign direct investment made by a Philippine company into Myanmar.
Highlighting Ayala’s faith in the future of the country as well as Yoma’s business model, Ayala paid an issue price of S$0.45 per share for its Yoma stake, which represents a 36% premium over its VWAP on 12-13 Nov19. At least half or more of the placement proceeds will go into funding the growth and expansion of Yoma’s various businesses, while the remainder will be used to refinance existing indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.
As both Ayala and Yoma emphasize similar key business segments, we anticipate important collaboration between the two companies which will help strengthen Yoma’s foundation for future growth.
Outlook in Myanmar
1. Hard hit by trade and tourism in the near term. Myanmar’s growth may face strong headwinds due to its exposure to the slowdown in China and around the world. The COVID-19 outbreak has limited global demand and elevated global economic uncertainty, which is likely to have a material impact on Myanmar’s tourism-related services, agricultural exports to China, and supply-chain disruptions to the manufacturing sector.
a. Tourism: Representing 16% of GDP, income from hotels, restaurants and transport activities, which are partly supported by tourism, have been significantly impacted. In 2019, Chinese nationals accounted for 20% of tourist arrivals. Growth in China is projected to decline to 2.3% in 2020, from 6.1% in 2019.
b. Agricultural exports to China: The agriculture sector remains the biggest employer in Myanmar, accounting for 78% of the rural labour force. Farmers are suffering from declines in production and prices associated with a reduction in exports to China. Agricultural exports to China represent 10% of total exports (2019: 4% of GDP, World Bank).
c. Supply-chain disruptions to the manufacturing sector. Garments’ manufacturing accounts for 13% of exports. Nearly 15,000 garment manufacturing workers lost their jobs as factories were forced to close due to a lack of raw materials from China and cancellation of orders from the European Union countries. FDI inflows could be hampered as well, hitting the manufacturing sector which relies on labour and imports of raw materials.
Economic growth in Myanmar was projected to increase to 6.4% in 2020 and 6.7% in 2021. However, since the COVID-19 outbreak, economic growth is expected to decline sharply in 2020 to 2-3%.
2. Gradual recovery expected post-lockdown from COVID-19. In 2021, economic growth is expected to recover in the range of 4-6% with the improved business sentiment, better access to electricity and improved availability of credit.
Myanmar will continue to work closely with its neighbouring countries to discuss the future FDI opportunities. Chinese investments are expected to continue. However, the economic blow dealt by the outbreak may place Myanmar in a weaker position as it negotiates with China over a series of large infrastructure projects.
Besides China, Myanmar inked a deal with Singapore’s Infrastructure Asia (IA) in May 20 where IA will identify suitable investors for infrastructure projects in Myanmar that are aligned with the country’s sustainable development plan. The mutual collaboration will provide and promote growth in both countries.
Looking ahead, rapid urbanization and positive GDP growth underpin the long-term prospects for Myanmar’s real estate industry. Growth of restaurants should sustain due to the rising discretionary disposable income from Myanmar’s growing middle class. Myanmar’s location between China and India makes it strategically significant in China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Investment growth in transport and telecommunication will sustain, as the government plans for more infrastructure spending. Construction sector activity is also expected to improve, with positive proxy indicators such as building permits and large FDI commitments.
1. Slowdown of Myanmar’s economy exacerbated by lower external demand and FDI. Slowing global and regional growth, especially in China, can also transmit to Myanmar through the trade channel by lower external demand and inbound foreign investments.
2. Private-sector growth is hindered by supply-side constraints and a restrictive business environment. The top three impediments to firms’ ability to grow in Myanmar are access to factors of production (i.e., finance, land, and skilled workers); poor physical and digital connectivity; and difficulty in doing business.
3. Depreciation of the Myanmar Kyat (MMK) due to macroeconomic and/or political uncertainty. The MMK could weaken in the coming quarters as a result of renewed trade tensions between the US and China. The upcoming 2020 general elections could add another source of uncertainty.
4. Other risks: Insecurity in border areas with violence and forced displacement of refugees in Rakhine, and uncertainty from legal proceedings could affect investors’ sentiment.
We initiate coverage on Yoma with a BUY rating and a SOTP-derived target price of S$0.46 to reflect the diverse nature of its business lines. Barring downside risks from a severe domestic outbreak, we are bullish on the development of Myanmar post COVID-19. In our SOTP model, property and financial services constitute 73% and 17% of its assets respectively. The outstanding 10% comprises the remaining business lines – such as F&B, automobiles and heavy equipment. Downside risks to our valuation include the depreciation of USD against SGD. A conglomerate discount of 20% has been applied.