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Philippines' Ayala Corp to invest over $200 mln in Myanmar's Yoma Group

Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala attends the Belt and Road Summit in Hong Kong, China September 11, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

SINGAPORE, Nov 14 (Reuters) - Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp on Thursday said it would invest $237.5 million in Myanmar's Yoma Group in search of growth in multiple sectors, in a deal the pair called the Philippines' biggest private investment in Myanmar.

Ayala, whose businesses include telecommunications, energy and infrastructure, will gain 20% in each of Yoma's two holding companies - Myanmar-listed First Myanmar Investment Public Co Ltd (FMI) and Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd.

The Philippine firm will become the second-largest shareholder of the two companies after the controlling Pun family. It will nominate its president and chief operating officer, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, to the board of each.

"Our partnership with the Yoma Group gives Ayala a unique opportunity to participate in Myanmar's growth story," Ayala Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said in a statement.

Yoma, chaired by tycoon Serge Pun, has expanded beyond real estate by partnering international companies entering Myanmar. It holds the KFC franchise from Yum Brands Inc and has a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motors Corp to distribute the Japanese automaker's vehicles.

"This partnership reflects Ayala's faith in the future of Myanmar," Pun, executive chairman of both FMI and Yoma Strategic, said in the statement.

Earlier on Thursday, Yoma Strategic reported a net loss of $44.2 million its the second quarter through September, versus a profit of $18.8 million a year earlier. (Reporting by Fathin Ungku; Editing by Christopher Cushing)