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Surbana Jurong partners Phongsavanh Group, Mekong Group on Laos infrastructure projects

Sealing the three-party partnership at Don Chan Palace Hotel, Laos, Vientiane. From left: Yeo Choon Chong, Surbana Jurong’s Deputy CEO, Thedlakhone Douangsonthi, Phongsavanh Group’s Vice-Chairman and Michael Aw, Mekong Group’s CEO.

In a move that will see Singapore companies share their expertise to support Lao PDR’s growth, Singapore’s Surbana Jurong, Mekong Group and Lao’s Phongsavanh Group today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to jointly pursue business opportunities there.

Under this MOU signed in Vientiane, Laos, on 1 September 2017, the partners aim to support the government’s plan to transform land-locked Laos to a land-linked one through infrastructure projects and to attract investments through strategically planned townships and industrial growth clusters.

Phongsavanh Group is the master developer for an industrial zone development project covering 1,300ha in the city of Vientiane, capital of Laos. Based in Laos, the Group is well-established with over 30 years of experience in various businesses including banking, insurance, airlines and logistics. It is appointed and authorised by the government to drive the development of this industrial zone.

Surbana Jurong will provide its expertise in Urban Development Studies and Strategic Planning. For a start, it will develop the Concept Master Plans for Phongsavanh Group’s Vientiane project, which it aims to complete by the end of the year. Surbana Jurong has successfully completed many internationally renowned industrial parks, townships and city planning, such as Singapore’s Jurong Island Petrochemical Hub, Suzhou Industrial Park, Tianjin Eco-City, Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park, Kigali City in Africa and Amaravati Capital City in India.

Mekong Group will provide its expertise in sourcing international talents and firms to support the project. It is advising Phongsavanh Group on starting new businesses and improving current processes.

The MOU signing ceremony was attended by Singapore’s Ambassador to Laos, Mr Dominic Goh, as well as senior representatives of Laos’ government agencies.

During Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith’s official visit to Singapore in May this year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that Singapore hopes to be part of Laos’ growth story. Today’s MOU is testament that both countries are taking that step forward together.

“Laos is one of the fastest growing economies in the region and Surbana Jurong is excited to partner Laos on its growth journey. Beyond masterplanning, Surbana Jurong’s design and engineering capabilities in various sectors also complement Laos’ development priorities. We have over 50 years track record in township, industrial and infrastructure development and are pleased to contribute our expertise for Laos’ development success,” said Surbana Jurong’s Group CEO Wong Heang Fine.

Mr Wong added, “This collaboration with Phongsavanh Group and Mekong Group will allow us to leverage each partner’s strengths as we explore other areas of cooperation, with the ultimate aim to help Laos and her people grow and prosper in a sustainable way.”

Mekong Group’s CEO, Mr Michael Aw said, “Laos has remodelled itself into a safe, stable and peaceful nation with big ambitions. Lao PDR today is counted among the world’s fastest growing economies and is set on a course of full regional and international integration.We are excited to start this journey together with Surbana Jurong and Phongsavanh Group, to be the advisor for this project with Phongsavanh Group as the master developer and Surbana Jurong as the master planner. The goal is to eventually build a township and industrial park which is strategically located near the high-speed rail station in Vientiane, a China’s Belt Road Initiatives (BRI).”

He added, “Mekong Group’s focus in Laos is to tap BRI opportunities. We will act fast to secure our first-mover advantage in Laos.We will collaborate with international and Singapore firms to form a consortium to engage these opportunities.”

Mr Thedlakhone Douangsonthi, Vice-Chairman of Phongsavanh Group said, “As a leading local company, Phongsavanh Group, as always, will leverage our capacity and successful experiences to assist Laos to become developed as fast as possible. This new industrial zone will be an example of regional economic and industrial development and will be a pilot project to improve and develop the whole country. We will develop this project to international standards, by seeking experts and talents and by working with experienced and competitive companies. I believe this project will not only drive the development of local economies and industries, for example, to improve local infrastructure and living conditions including modernised plants, houses, apartments, schools, hotels, shopping malls, hospitals, sporting places and so on, but also provide opportunities for international investors to be successful businesses in Laos. I am confident that this project led by Phongsavanh Group will achieve a win-win result.”

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