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Lotte vice chief to meet Myanmar’s deputy minister

Myanmar expected to request more investment from Lotte Group

The Myanmarese economic deputy minister is expected to meet with Lotte Group’s vice chairman Lee In-won in early September when he visits here. The two are expected to discuss business opportunities centering on calls from Myanmar to Lotte to invest more in Myanmar’s food and hotel businesses, according to industry sources.

Lee Jae-hyuk, chief executive of Lotte Chilsung Beverage, a unit of Lotte Group, will also reportedly accompany the Lotte vice chairman to the meeting.

“We believe Myanmar’s delegation will request more investment from Lotte,” said one source close to the matter, declining to be identified.

Lotte Group has already shown keen interest in making inroads in Myanmar following chairman Shin Dong-bin’s visit to the nation in 2012. Shin saw the market as full of opportunities thanks to its abundant resources and willingness to open, those close to Shin said.

Since then, the company has invested in a hotel and restaurant business in Myanmar, viewing the nation as a strategic point for its global business. 
Lotte Group’s vice chairman Lee In-won. (Yonhap)
Lotte Group’s vice chairman Lee In-won. (Yonhap)

Lotte Hotel, the hospitality arm of Lotte Group, participated in a $220 million hotel project in Yangon this May, in partnership with Daewoo International and POSCO Engineering & Construction. Lotte Hotel will be in charge of running the hotel and residence while Daewoo will supervise the entire project. POSCO is responsible for the construction.

Sources said there will be more opportunities for Korean companies in Myanmar’s hotel business amid strong demand for hotels to accommodate a growing number of tourists in recent years.

The South Korean food giant also jumped into the nation’s restaurant market in April, opening its fast-food brand Lotteria in the country’s largest shopping center, Junction Square, in Yangon. As the first global restaurant franchise in the nation, it now runs four stores and is slated to open 30 more by 2016.

Lotte also launched joint venture Lotte-MGS Beverage in January, in partnership with Myanmar Golden Star in a bid to jump into the nation’s beverage market. Lotte Group and MGS invested a total of $81 million in the project. Following the merger, Lotte made an equipment investment to install and maintain production lines in the two factories. 
Lei Lei Thein, deputy minister for national planning and economic development in Myanmar (Korea Eximbank)
Lei Lei Thein, deputy minister for national planning and economic development in Myanmar (Korea Eximbank)

“Myanmar will be Lotte Group’s strategic point in its global business,” Shin said at the inauguration ceremony of the joint venture.

The Myanmarese delegation will include Lei Lei Thein, the deputy minister for national planning and economic development, and high-level officials from the Central Bank of Myanmar and economy-related ministries. They will seek to offer information to local companies and government officials on direct investment opportunities in Myanmar, the sources said.

By Shin Ji-hye (