Kirin to exit Myanmar, end beer partnership with military entity

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 14 2022 06:23 PM

Cases of beer (top L) by Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings and other makers are seen outside a store in Tokyo July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo
Cases of beer (top L) by Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings and other makers are seen outside a store in Tokyo July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

TOKYO - Kirin Holdings Co. said Monday it will exit from Myanmar's beer market as a means of promptly ending a business partnership with a military-linked entity in the Southeast Asian country.

The Japanese beverage maker decided last February to dissolve its partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Co. shortly after the military seized power in a coup, but has been unsuccessful in negotiations up until now.

Kirin said it hopes its withdrawal from the two joint ventures -- Myanmar Brewery Ltd. and Mandalay Brewery Ltd. -- with the military-affiliated company can be resolved by the end of June through the sale of stocks it holds in the entities.

Last December, a Kirin subsidiary filed for commercial arbitration with the Singapore International Arbitration Centre after Myanma Economic Holdings unilaterally petitioned to liquidate Myanmar Brewery.

Despite the filing, the Japanese company deemed it would be difficult to promptly dissolve the joint venture under its terms.

"We have noted strong opposition by the military-affiliated company against releasing its share (in the two ventures), so we proposed withdrawing as a realistic option," Kirin Holdings President and CEO Yoshinori Isozaki said at a press conference Monday.

Under the current structure, the beer ventures in Myanmar are each owned 51 percent by Kirin and 49 percent by Myanma Economic Holdings.

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