Duane Morris & Selvam has advised First Myanmar Investment (FMI) on the listing of its shares on the newly opened Yangon Stock Exchange (YSX), the first stock to be listed on the bourse since it was launched in December. 

Partners Jamie Benson in Singapore and Mark D’Alelio in Yangon led the Duane Morris & Selvam team in handling this transaction.

Owned by local tycoon Serge Pun, the conglomerate’s core businesses are in the real estate, health care and financial services industries. It also has investments in retail and tourism businesses as well as a company involved in the development of Myanmar’s Thilawa Special Economic Zone, which is jointly operated by the government and a Japanese group. 

The maiden listing comes at the end of almost 50 years of military rule in Myamar. The post-junta government of outgoing President Thein Sein has pushed for reforms such as developing capital markets to help finance growth and establishing a new stock market to catch up with more developed economies.

The FMI listing, however, did not include an IPO or amass new capital. Instead, the company transferred shares to list on the YSX that it previously sold to the public via direct subscription. 

Yoma Strategic Holdings, FMI’s sister company, is listed in Singapore – the only Myanmar company listed in an overseas bourse. Apart from FMI, the government is looking at five other companies to list, including Myanmar Citizens Bank, First Private Bank and Thilawa SEZ Holdings. 

Myanma Economic Bank owns 51 percent of YSX, and this could be a potential roadblock in case foreign investors will be allowed to invest in the future. The bank is on the U.S. Department of Treasury's list of sanctioned entities due to its ties to the former junta.

Tokyo-headquartered Daiwa Securities and the Japan Exchange Group, which operates the Tokyo Stock Exchange, own the rest of the YSX.