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Japanese megabanks to invest in Thilawa project

Work continues on the industrial park in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone, a public-private collaboration between Japan and Myanmar.

TOKYO -- Three Japanese megabanks will invest in a company developing a special economic zone in Myanmar with backing from the public and private sectors of both countries.

     MJ Thilawa Development is developing the industrial park in the Thilawa Special Economic Zone outside Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. The Southeast Asian nation's public and private sectors together own 51% of the company, with a Japanese public-private consortium holding the rest. The economic zone is slated to partly open in 2015.

     Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. will join the Japanese group by investing several percent in MJ Thilawa Development. The banks may contribute just under 200 million yen ($1.68 million) before year-end, taking over a portion of Japanese trading companies' investment. The Japanese consortium consists of trading houses Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp. and Sumitomo Corp., along with the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

     The megabanks have received licenses to operate from the Myanmar government and will open local branches within a year. Roughly 20 Japanese companies have decided to set up shop in Thilawa. The banks will support the activities of Japanese businesses in the area through financing and trade settlements. Mizuho Bank has a hand in the overall planning of the initiative at this point.

     By taking part in the project led by the government of Myanmar, the Japanese banks also aim to tap demand there for funds for infrastructure investment and other purposes.

(Nikkei)

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