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ANZ to enter Myanmar after sanctions lifted

Rachael Micallef  |  10 Dec 2012Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  

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Rachael Micallef is a journalist with InvestorDaily, a Sterling publication.


Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) will open a Myanmar office following the removal of international sanctions on investment earlier in the year.

The company is the first Australian bank to receive an operational licence from the Central Bank of Myanmar, after the Australian government lifted its sanction on trading and investing in the country.

"The representative office will strengthen our capacity to connect customers across our international network and to access opportunities in Myanmar, as well as connecting our clients in Myanmar with new trade and investment opportunities," ANZ chief executive international and institutional banking Alex Thursby said.

"The nation is rich in natural resources such as arable land, minerals, energy and fresh water, and has significant economic growth potential over the medium term."

ANZ Royal Bank chief executive in Cambodia and chairman of ANZ Laos, Grant Knuckey, will oversee the new representative office in Myanmar, the country formally known as Burma.

ANZ's Myanmar office will be located in Yangon, the country's largest city, and will open in early 2013.

In April this year, the Australian government announced it would normalise its trade and investment agreements with the country on the back of reform efforts by new Myanmar president, Thein Sein.

The remaining financial sanctions were lifted in June after a visit to Myanmar by Australia's foreign minister, Bob Carr, to oversee reform progress.

ANZ received the licence after discussions with the government of the Union of Myanmar, Australia and the US, and consultation with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.

ANZ will be the first OECD bank outside of Japan to receive approval to establish a presence within Myanmar, which is the largest country in southeast Asia and is strategically located between China and India.