Foreign links enhance Myanmar transparency

Corporate March 30, 2018 01:00


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SOME OF Myanmar’s leading companies have improved in corporate governance and transparency, due largely to their cooperation with international firms, a report has found.

The report, by the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business (MCRB), ranked First Myanmar Investment (FMI) Group, City Mart Holdings Ltd (CMHL), and Serge Pun & Associates as the top three performers among 182 large Myanmar companies that were assessed through their corporate websites, including listed and public enterprises. CMHL rose from eighth place in the last report to No 2 in terms of transparency this year. This year marks the fourth year of the report, known as Pwint Thit Sa.

Big players, such as Aya Bank, Max Myanmar, Shwe Taung, Grand Guardian Insurance, Dagon Group and Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings, scored high marks. The report also noted that Myanmar Awba, Myanmar Citizens Bank, and First Private Bank significantly improved disclosure of corporate governance information compared with their efforts in the report for 2016.

“The leading companies from last year are still more or less the same as before. FMI should be congratulated for coming top for the third year running and demonstrating a high standard of corporate governance,” said MCRB director Vicky Bowman. “And companies like CMHL, Shwe Taung and AYA Bank should be recognised for their significant improvement.”

One striking statistic from this year’s report is that the average score for a company in which the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation has invested is 54 per cent, compared with an average of 7 per cent for the companies assessed. This indicates even greater transparency than that assessed for the five listed companies on Yangon Stock Exchange, which averaged 38 per cent, she said.

“This demonstrates that good corporate governance is what attracts investors and partners for companies. It also shows that IFC investment and the guidance that accompanies it make a real difference to how these companies run themselves,” she said.

Bowman said some public companies still have very poor disclosure records and an absence of corporate governance, resulting in an average score of only 4 per cent. Over one-third of the companies that were assessed still do not have corporate websites. The scoring was based on the Asean Corporate Governance Scorecard used in Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.

Tun Tun, chief financial officer at FMI Group, said the firm was very satisfied with its top ranking. FMI is the first company to be listed on the Yangon Stock Exchange.

“We see it as our responsibility to raise the standards of corporate governance in Myanmar and we are honoured to be recognised for our efforts. Corporate integrity, transparency and accountability are our core principles,” he said. “Having been awarded the highest score for disclosure again is a testament to the hard work and dedication our team has put into setting up systems and processes to ensure good corporate governance.”

Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Limited climbed nearly 10 spots into ninth place. MTSH is the majority shareholder in Myanmar Japan Thilawa Development Ltd (MJTD), the developer of the Thilawa special economic zone. 

Tomoyasu Shimizu, president of MJTD, said the study reaffirmed the firm’s professionalism and commitment to Myanmar. 

“The corporate culture and aspiration of the Thilawa SEZ is to be a leader in sustainability, governance and honest two-way communication with our stakeholders. The report means we are all doing the right thing,” he said.

The report assessed more than twice the number of businesses since its last findings in 2016. The criteria for evaluation are good corporate governance, corporate culture, reporting, sustainability management and communication. 


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