December 7, 2012 / 6:01 AM / 5 years ago

Myanmar grants ANZ licence to open representative office

SYDNEY, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd said on Friday it had received approval from Myanmar authorities to open a representative office in the country which is seeing a surge in foreign interest since the end of military rule in 2011.

The licence from Myanmar’s central bank makes ANZ the first bank outside of Japan in the member-nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to receive approval to establish a presence in the country after the lifting of some international sanctions earlier this year.

Rich in resources such as copper, gold and tin, Myanmar’s growth potential in agriculture and oil and gas exports is attracting international attention.

Its parliament approved a foreign investment bill in November aimed at allowing overseas companies to fully own ventures and to offer tax breaks and lengthy leases of land.

“We believe our expertise in resources, agriculture and infrastructure offers something unique to clients interested in Myanmar,” ANZ’s CEO of International & Institutional Banking, Alex Thursby, said in a statement.

Myanmar’s gross domestic product, currently $43 billion, is derived primarily from government and foreign investment into the oil and gas and agribusiness sectors.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, introduced sweeping reforms this year after decades of hardline military rule following a coup in 1962 drove the former British colony into poverty and isolation.

ANZ said it remained committed to complying with sanctions still in place. It said the office, subject to final administrative approval, is scheduled to open early next year in Yangon.

Grant Knuckey, CEO of ANZ Royal Bank in Cambodia and Chairman of ANZ Laos, will oversee its operations. (Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Ron Popeski; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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