Welcome to the fourth edition of our monthly Myanmar update in 2018. We have distilled the top news items into this summary 'speed read'.

BLP authors Guide to Establishing a Business in Myanmar

In collaboration with Practical Law (a Thomson Reuters company), BLP has authored the guide to establishing a business in Myanmar.

The Q&A style guide is part of the global guide to establishing a business in….series produced by Practical Law. Areas covered include an introduction to the legal system, available business vehicles, formalities, corporate governance structures and requirements. Also covered are foreign investment incentives and restrictions, currency regulations, tax, and employment issues.

Public Consultations on the Myanmar Insolvency Bill

The Union Supreme Court of Myanmar is undertaking the process of preparing a new and reformed Myanmar Insolvency Bill. The public consultations on the first draft of this new bill will take place on 9 May at the Melia Hotel in Yangon. A draft of the bill has been made available ahead of the consultations.

As well as combining both corporate insolvency and personal bankruptcy regimes, the Insolvency Bill’s broad objectives are to:

  • provide a modern insolvency regime which is aligned with international standards and practice and which focuses on corporate rescue;
  • promote access to finance by providing certainty, transparency and predictability for debtors and creditors with respect to their rights on an insolvency. This will include a separate regime and rescue process for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector; and
  • strengthen the economy through a transparent, consistent and predictable insolvency regime to promote better investment, economic growth and stability.

Foreign Investment in Education Services

By Notification No. 7/2018 dated 20 April 2018, the Myanmar Investment Commission ("MIC") has opened fully the range of permitted investment activities in education services. Foreign investors are permitted to contribute 100% of the capital investment needed for a particular education service and the notification makes explicit reference to foreign government organisations being permitted to do this too. Full capital investment by Myanmar citizens or organisations and joint capital investments between Myanmar and foreign investors are also permitted.

Investors may now open basic education schools (ranging from kindergartens to high schools), technical, vocational and training schools as well as higher education facilities and subject based schools. These schools are to comply with the Myanmar Investment Law and Rules, Notifications issued by the Myanmar Investment Commission and National Education Law (2014).

Power Generation Update

Myanma Petrochemical Enterprise ("MPE") has revealed plans to build a new oil refinery with a capacity of 2 million tonnes per year in Magwe Region under a public private partnership. There are currently only two oil refineries in Myanmar, opened in the 1950s/60s. Construction of the new refinery is expected to take between 3 and 5 years.

A joint venture between MPE and Asia AVA Gas Company sees them undertaking a project enabling the import, storage and distribution of liquefied petroleum gas in Myanmar. The project, involving an initial investment of US$60 million, will include construction of a jetty, storage tanks, loading and unloading facilities and a gas-filing plant.

The government has made a promise to electrify the country fully by 2030 and these recent developments are encouraging for those looking to invest in Myanmar’s growing power sector.

DICA and MIC Investment Guide

A new investment guide has been issued by the Directorate of Investment and Company Administration (​DICA).

The guide provides an overview of the investment opportunities in Myanmar together with a comprehensive overview of the procedures and steps that foreign investors need to follow including incorporating a local company. The guide also includes the breakdown of the existing taxation regime and the use of Special Economic Zones.

The guide reminds potential investors that while most foreign invested projects no longer require approval from MIC, those meeting certain criteria will continue to do so. These include businesses that are strategic to Myanmar, have large capital investments, have a large potential impact on the environment and local community, involve State-owned land, or are designated by the Government as needing a permit.