Sai Sam Htum
Birth: 10 April 1946
Source of wealth: Loi Hein Group
Address: No.291, Shwedagon Pagoda Rd, Dagon Tsp, YANGON
Business: Manufacturing Drinking Water and Beverages, Finance, Fuel Stations
Former medical doctor Sai Sam Htun has built Loi Hein Group of Companies into a leading consumer discretionary group with the highest market share of drinking water companies in Myanmar. Known among the country’s ‘cleaner tycoons’, Dr. Htun has also diversified his business empire into financial services.
“I am not leaving my drinking water and beverage business. I am doing improvements in these businesses too and at the same time I join the capital business market too.”
Sai Sam Htun is a successful businessman and chair of Loi Hein Group of Companies. These companies comprise a leading consumer discretionary group and a huge success in beverage manufacturing and distribution in Myanmar. His flagship products, namely Alpine and Shark, have strong brand presence in the purified drinking water and energy beverage segments in Myanmar.
Sai Sam Htun served as a medical officer in Myanmar for about 15 years. He lived in Canada for five years and studied at Washington University (US) from 1987 to 1991.
In 1994, he used his savings (US$20,000) to set up his first company the Great Burma and started selling plywood and timber. He worked in the distribution of state-owned Myanmar Foodstuffs Industries (MFI), including cigarettes, soft drinks and beer. After the junta leased state-run factories to private operators, Sai Sam Htun switched to manufacturing and distribution.
Sai Sam Htun founded Loi Hein Company in 1996 which soon attracted new partners and developed its own brands. He accrued his fortune through the manufacture, marketing, trading and the distribution of consumer goods in Myanmar. Like Michael Moe Myint and Win Win Tint, Dr. Sai Sam Htun has developed a reputation as one of the country’s tycoons. He has diversified into the finance service industry, through the establishment of Ruby Hill Financial and KTZ Ruby Hill Securities and partnership with Thailand’s KT ZMICO.
Alpine drinking water (launched 2002) has the highest market share in their product category in Myanmar. His other successful products include energy beverages: popular brands are Shark energy drink, Royal Lipo energy drink, Lemon sparkling drink, Fantasy, and Blue Mountain Carbonated Drinks. In consumer goods, Sai Sam Htun’s company has many product lines including Fruito, Vinto, Sunskist, Sport Plus, cigarettes (Duya and Kha-baung), beverages (Royal Lippo), feminine hygiene products (Loitex), and drinking water.
The popularity of Alpine is closely linked to the brand’s sponsorship of football matches and sports events. Sai Sam Htun also owns Yadanabon Football Club that has won Myanmar’s soccer league championships.
Shark has become a leading name in energy beverages. As a brand, it is associated with an active and exciting lifestyle, adventure, and extreme sports. In 2015, his group formed a joint venture with Thailand-based Osotsapa Company to penetrate the ASEAN beverage market. They also launched the distribution and marketing of M-150 and Shark in other countries.
In 2008, his group established business relations with Thai-based Green Spot Company, Thailand’s leading manufacturer of non-carbonated orange drinks and bottled soymilk. In 2009, Sai Sam Htun’s group was selected as the only distributor of “SPY Wine Cooler”, a product of a Thai-based company, Siam Winery.
Sai Sam Htun’s company, Loi Hein, has successfully established four joint ventures – two from Japan and two from Thailand.
Loi Hein’s first joint venture was with Japan’s Asahi group, in 2014. The venture was intended to become a new soft drinks company in Myanmar. Japan-based Asahi group invested about US$22 million to acquire a controlling 51pc share.
Today, Loi Hein Distribution Company (LHDC), serves more than 30,000 outlets. It has become a strategic subsidiary of his group and a benchmark in the FMCG marketing and distribution sector.
Sai Sam Htun’s Ruby Hills Securities also formed a joint venture with Thai KT.ZMICO, a subsidiary of Thai Krung Thai Bank. The joint venture is known as KTZ Ruby Hill (KTzRH) Securities and aims to trade shares of listed companies on the Yangon Stock Exchange.
In 2017, Loi Hein forged a joint venture with a Vietnam-based investment firm Dragon Capital to provide microfinance services in frontier markets. Dragon Capital is the oldest independent asset manager in Vietnam, with over US$1.8 billion.
In 2016, Loi Hein helped a Singapore-based company Soibuild Group to complete a luxury housing project, dubbed ‘Rose-hill Residences’ in Yangon. Sai Sam Htun’s group also owns a 37-acre plot in Thilawa Special Economic Zone. Talks are underway with a Japanese firm to partner on an offshore supply base. During 2016, his group also formed a joint venture with Japan’s Toyo Seikan company, to set up a steel cans production unit in Myanmar. When Coca Cola and other international firms began to enter the Myanmar market, Sai Sam Htun was motivated to form partnerships by the argument, “I will get killed if I don’t partner.”