Aung Thet Mann
Birth: 19 June 1977
Source of wealth: Ayer Shwe Wah, AYS MFG
Address: No.5, Pyay Rd, Hlaing Tsp, YANGON
Business: Agriculture, Trading, Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Construction, Hotels, Transportation, Telecommunication, Diesel distribution, Hotels & Resorts, Logistics, Agribusiness, Pharmaceuticals, Fishery, Radio Station, Export & Import
Aung Thet Mann is CEO of Ayer Shwe Wah, which is involved in agriculture, trading, manufacturing, oil and gas, construction, hotels, public transportation, medicine and medical supplies. He is a son of Thura Shwe Mann, a major campaigner for reforms among Myanmar’s political elite.
“We’ve experienced this in the past, after reshuffles or a change in politics, businesses related to affected officials usually fall down.”
Aung Thet Mann (also known as Shwe Mann Ko Ko), is the CEO of Ayer Shwe Wah (ASW), a Htoo Trading subsidiary owned by billionaire Tay Za. He is also co-owner of RedLink Communications (led by his brother, Toe Naing Mann), a leading telecommunications and ISP group in Myanmar. RedLink is a major local sponsor of the Southeast Asian Games and provides free wireless service at the event.
He is the son of a former general, Thura Shwe Mann, who also served as third-incommand during the military rule that ended in 2011. When Aung Thet Mann’s father was ousted from the leadership of the former President Thein Sein’s party, in September 2015, there was speculation that the government would investigate the business empire of Shwe Mann family. The government closed Cherry FM, a radio station run by his sister-in-law.
Aung Thet Mann managed these challenges and demonstrated an agility in reconfiguring his business. Thura Shwe Mann is today a leading campaigner for reforms and his two sons have become strong businessmen in Myanmar. Many of Myanmar’s tycoons have relied on Thura Shwe Mann for patronage, with past beneficiaries including Htoo Group and Zaykabar Company. Aung Thet Mann claims to have provided US$1 million to help the victims of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis. Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi regarded his father Thura Shwe Mann as an “ally” and nominated him to head a key legal advisory panel in 2016.
Aung Thet Mann completed an MBA degree from Yangon Institute of Economics. Aung Thet Mann has been in business since his father became a regional commander in Ayeyarwaddy division. His company won highly profitable government contracts to distribute fertilizers in the Ayeyarwaddy delta region. The government awarded the company 30,000 acres of land to develop, in line with the Lowland Development Program.
ASW, first established in 1998 by Tay Za, was the first private firm to export Myanmar’s rice to Singapore and Bangladesh, in 2005. The company first performed agricultural operations in flooded areas. Today, his business employs more than 2,000 people and has diversified into many sectors, including construction, telecommunication, diesel distribution, power generation, hotels and resorts, transportation, logistics, agribusiness and fisheries, pharmaceuticals, banking, education, mining, and port management. ASW consists of nine enterprises, including its core enterprises, Elite Petrol Chemical and Terminal Gasoline Station, which import, store, distribute and sell fuel oils throughout Myanmar. ASW enjoys close links with other Myanmar business groups, such as AYA Bank, AGD Bank, Elite Express and KBZ Bank.
Alongside his leadership of ASW, Aung Thet Mann is also CEO of Singapore-based Avon Ruppe and AYS Manufacturing. Avon Ruppe is the world’s largest processor of lentils, pulses & beans and its processing plant, AYS MFG Company, is in Yangon. Its state-of-the-art equipment are provided by M/S Buhler of Switzerland. The company has three lentil mills and one bean processing plant, with a capacity of 500 metric tonnes per day, and a cannery with more than 200 full-time employees. AYS also trades in allied commodities, such as petroleum products, steel, cement, bitumen, timbers, plant and machinery and other consumer products.
Aung Thet Mann has also invested in construction projects in Naypyitaw, the country’s newest capital, and received various government contracts to reconstruct Naypyitaw. He is also the majority shareholder of Tycoon Tay Za’s AGD Bank, one of the largest banks in Myanmar. In May 2008, he faced financial sanctions imposed by the US Treasury for his business relationships with Tay Za. The US accused Tay Za of using his ties with Aung Thet Mann to secure lucrative contracts from Myanmar’s military government. The US Treasury lifted its sanctions in September 2016.