The SET-listed Rojana Industrial Park Plc has agreed to partner Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD), Thailand's top contractor by market value, to develop the industrial estate of the Dawei deep-sea port project in Myanmar.
Rojana will hold 50% of the special-purpose vehicle (SPV) to be responsible for the estate, said Kiwamu Honda, senior adviser to the chairman of the board of Dawei Development Co (DDC), the operator and manager of the Dawei project.
The balance is owned by ITD, which has been granted a 75-year concession to develop the special economic zone and deep-sea port in Dawei in eastern Myanmar, said Mr Honda, also the adviser to ITD's office of the president.
Seven SPVs will be set up to manage infrastructure projects in Dawei, he added.
The Dawei project consists of six key elements: a port, cross-border road link, power plant, water-supply system, industrial park and telecommunications infrastructure.
The two parties are set to officially announce the partnership later this week or early next week.
Covering 200,000 rai, the Dawei project is one of three special economic zones being developed in Myanmar along with the Thilawa and Kyaukpyu projects.
The Dawei project requires US$8.5 billion for infrastructure in the first phase including the port. Taking into account heavy industry programmes such as oil refineries and integrated steel mills, the cost goes up to $50 billion.
Initial roads have already been developed, while a small port is nearly finished, Mr Honda said.
Founded by the Vinichbutr family, Rojana 10 years ago launched bids to develop an industrial park near Yangon, but the project did not proceed because of the unclear regulations and business environment in the former military-ruled country.
The company operates two industrial estates in Ayutthaya and Rayong. Last year, Rojana announced it will spend 4 billion baht to develop a 4,000-rai industrial project in Prachin Buri.
"The time is more appropriate for us now as Myanmar has gone through reforms and is opening up the country," said a Rojana executive.
"Once we decide to return to Myanmar, we have to find a partner who knows the country quite well."
Shares of Rojana (ROJNA) closed yesterday on the SET at 8.70 baht, down 30 satang, in trading worth 17 million baht as ITD closed down 60 satang to 5.10 baht in trading of 456 million baht.
This article first appeared in the Bangkok Post on July 26, 2013.