Jun 7, 2013

Indian companies, banks plan to invest in Myanmar

A clutch of Indian oil companies, including ONGC Videsh Ltd, Oil India, and banks like SBIBSE and Bank of India are upbeat on business prospects in resource-rich Myanmar, an official source said today.

India is interested in deepening cooperation in procuring energy, oil and natural gas from Myanmar. Our companies are interested in securing more exploratory oil and gas blocks both onshore and offshore, the source said here.

Indian companies, which have developed expertise in development of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power, would like to share these expertise with Myanmar firms, he added.

Recently, Myanmar put on offer about 18 offshore oil and gas blocks, on a production-sharing basis, and there are seven Indian companies that are reported to be in the short list that includes OIL, OVL, Cairn India and Jubilant Energy.

Besides, India wants to assist in strengthening banking system in Myanmar as the two nations inherit common banking laws.

Indian banks have shown interest in opening branches in Myanmar. United Bank of IndiaBSE has set up a representative office in Myanmar, which is expected to soon get permission to open full-fledged banking services, the source said.

Bank of India and State Bank of India, are also interested in setting up a joint venture state-owned bank with India and Myanmar sharing equity which would further enable to strengthen our ties in banking and commerce, he added.

So far, Indian companies like Tata MotorsBSE, Essar Energy, Escorts, Sonalika Tractors, Zydus Pharmaceuticals, Ranbaxy and Cadila Healthcare have invested $% 273.5 million.

Of the total investment, $ 257.7 million investment has been in the oil and gas sector and $ 16 million in the manufacturing sector.

The potential areas of investment where India and Myanmar can collaborate include sectors like oil and gas exploration, agri, forestry based industries, metallurgical industries, infrastructure (power, communications development airports, railway lines and roads), IT, financial services, healthcare, education and skill development, the source said.

In the telecom sector, India's Bharti AirtelBSE, along with its consortium partners, is one of the 11 final bidders for a telecom licence in Myanmar.

On Special Economic Zone (SEZ), the official source said, Indian firms have shown keen interest towards investing in industrial zones and in these zones and are examining investment options in existing old zones.

He said that India maybe be willing to offer $ 150 million of credit for project exports for setting up an SEZ at Sittwe and would like the Myanmar government to provide land for the project. India is developing the Sittwe port and it would be an ideal location for a SEZ and would encourage Indian firms to participate in the venture.

Source: The Economic Times