Myanmar confirms ITD deal still firm

Myanmar confirms ITD deal still firm

The 75-year concession granted to Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD) in Dawei remains in place, but construction of the deep-sea port has stopped while the participation of international investors is being arranged, a spokesman for the Myanmar government said.

Set Aung, adviser to the Myanmar President Office, brushed aside reports that the government has terminated the concession to ITD to develop a special economic zone and a deep-sea port in Dawei, eastern Myanmar.

Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal, who headed the Thai team that visited Dawei earlier this month, said last week that the Myanmar government planned to take back the concession awarded to ITD, Thailand's largest construction company, after the Dawei project had been delayed for many years.

Mr Pongsak, who was recently named head of a special task force to kick-start the Dawei project, said  the Myanmar government would call for international bids for Dawei early next year.

"It is not true that Myanmar government wants ITD out," Mr Set Aung told the <i>Bangkok Post</i> on Monday.

"However, ITD has to stop all its work to have due diligence assessments conducted on these projects. Without due diligence assessment, no other investor will be able to participate in any projects related to the Dawei SEZ development. And with no other investors' involvement, the Dawei project will never be successful," Mr Set Aung said in an email.

Mr Set Aung said all decisions are made bilaterally by the Myanmar and Thai governments in high-level committees or joint coordinating committees.

"ITD knows of every single discussion and decision made by the Myanmar and Thai governments," he said.

Thai officials, meanwhile, said the National Economic and Social Development Board has contacted ITD about Dawei. All ITD executives flew to Dawei and work at the site has stopped.

Shares of ITD closed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 5.60 baht, up 10 satang, in trade worth 408.6 million baht.

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