Change in owners as U Tay Za said to exit AGD Bank

Several prominent businesspeople have bought or sold stakes in Asia Green Development (AGD) Bank, as it prepares for listing on the planned Yangon Stock Exchange in 2015.

Up to 60 percent of the bank could have changed hands, with prominent entrepreneur U Tay Za and his Htoo Group of Companies severing direct ownership ties with the bank, say insiders.

There are about 15 large shareholders in AGD at present, with the previous largest shareholder selling his shares to four or five people in recent months – including well-known businessperson U Kyaw Ne Win, said Asia Green Development executive director U Soe Thein.

U Kyaw Ne Win is the grandson of U Ne Win, the former head of the junta government from 1962 to 1981, and chair of the ruling party until 1988.

U Soe Thein said U Kyaw Ne Win purchased 1.5pc of the firm, while a number of other businesspeople including the owner of Mikko Coffee bought in.

However, U Kyaw Ne Win told The Myanmar Times he had purchased 60pc of AGD last month through his Omni Focus company, adding other friends had invested as well.

“I bought shares and entered the banking business because I would like to support the poverty reduction goals of president U Thein Sein,” he said.

“The best way to support his reform is to invest in the banking sector. I have a clear focus on making the banking business better,” he added.

U Tay Za has been prominently associated with AGD since its founding in 2010, though U Soe Thein claimed the entrepreneur and his Htoo Group of Companies are no longer on the shareholders list. U Soe Thein added that the changes in ownership were routine, and it was the notoriety of the names involved with the transactions that drew public attention.

Htoo Group officials were not immediately available for further comment. U Tay Za and his associated companies – including AGD – are on the US blacklist, though restrictions against doing business with AGD and three other banks were largely lifted by a United States general licence issued on February 22, 2013.

An official at the Central Bank of Myanmar requesting anonymity said he was not in a position to confirm or deny U Tay Za withdrawing from AGD, but added that share sales above a specific percentage and changes to chairs and boards of directors at banks must be reported to the Central Bank. The Central Bank may intervene in specific cases, he added.

AGD is preparing to list on the Yangon Stock Exchange, which is slated to start in October 2015. AGD is one of two public companies, along with Myanmar Agribusiness Public Company, that have declared intentions to list in 2015.

U Soe Thein said the bank is currently searching for a legal firm to help guide it through the process, and is already buying shares to help it through the process.

AGD was granted a licence in 2010 at about the same time as three other banks.


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