HONG KONG Feb 27 AIA Group Ltd,
Asia's third-biggest insurer, said on Wednesday that it was
planning to open a representative office in Myanmar, as part of
a strategy of targeting demand in fast-growing Southeast Asian
AIA's chief executive, Mark Tucker, told reporters on a
conference call that the company had received "provisional
approval" to open the representative office, which he described
as a "listening and observing post".
"It clearly once was a very attractive market and will be
again," Tucker said.
A representative office allows a company to establish a
presence in a country but does not permit a company to conduct
AIA rival Prudential Plc has previously expressed
interest in Myanmar, whose insurance market could eventually
produce $1.6 billion in annual premium revenues.
Southeast Asia's young populations, relatively high rates of
savings and fast-growing economies are have become increasingly
attractive for life insurers that have been hurt by low interest
rates and an economic slowdown in the West.
AIA last year bought insurance businesses in Sri Lanka and
Malaysia. It said on Wednesday that it would establish a
medium-term note programme to refinance part of its Malaysia
The company also reported a 27 percent rise in its value of
new business last fiscal year. That metric, which measures the
present value of future business, rose to $1.19 billion in the
year ended Nov. 30, while its new business margin climbed 6.4
percentage points to 43.6 percent. AIA's net profit was $3.02
billion or 18 cents per share.
Analysts on average had expected per-share earnings of 22
cents, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Shares of AIA, which is headquartered in Hong Kong, were up
2.1 percent in morning trade, compared with a 0.6 percent rise
in the benchmark Hang Seng index.