Thursday, January 24, 2013

Asia Green Development bank aims to go public

Thursday, 24 January 2013 12:15 AFP

A Burmese bank owned by a tycoon with close links to the former junta unveiled plans Wednesday for a stock market flotation in the latest sign of change in the former army-ruled nation.

Asia Green Development Bank, part of controversial businessman Tay Za's Htoo Group, said on its Facebook page that it had won permission from the Central Bank to become a publicly owned company.

The bank, which was set up in 2010 and has 25 branches, said the move aimed to allow its staff and the general public to share profits from the business.

It said it aimed to eventually list its shares on a new Burmese stock exchange that is expected to be opened in 2015 "in line with the changing economic system."

The operator of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) announced last year a deal with Burma's Central Bank to open a stock market in the country formerly known as Burma along with Japan's Daiwa Securities.

At the moment Burma only has a little known 17-year-old stock market offering over-the-counter deals in a handful of stocks.

The Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre, a joint venture between Daiwa's research arm and the government-run Myanma Economic Bank, aims to become a full-fledged bourse by 2015 using the TSE's technology and trading platforms.

The tiny market operator said it expected other firms to tread in the footsteps of Tay Za, one of a number of tycoons and their relatives blacklisted by the US Treasury.

"He is the pioneer and others will follow," said Thet Htun Oo, a senior manager at the Myanmar Securities Exchange Centre, describing it as part of a "major change for the country's capital market development."

Burma's reformist regime is eyeing a modernisation of the country's antiquated banking sector, which was left in tatters by decades of military rule and economic mismanagement.
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