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Japan Brewer Kirin To Exit Myanmar, Seek Sale Of Two Units

By Dave Simpson

Japanese beverage maker Kirin Holdings 2503.T will withdraw from its business in Myanmar and terminate its joint venture with a military-linked partner, it has said.

Dispute

Kirin has been in a dispute with local partner Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL) on how to dissolve their brewery venture following a military coup against the democratically elected government last year.

Termination Agreement

Kirin executives previously said that they wanted to remain in the Myanmar market somehowBut after a year of negotiations, the two sides agreed this month on terminating the venture and Kirin's exit from the country.

Statement By Kirin Chief Executive

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"We will resolve this issue by the end of June, no matter what it takes," Kirin chief executive Yoshinori Isozaki told reporters.

Impairment Loss

The withdrawal will result in an impairment loss of 46.6 billion yen ($404.37 million) in the year ended in December, Kirin said.

Statement By Spokesperson

The company will now seek to sell its stakes in two business units in the country, Myanmar Brewery Ltd and Mandalay Brewery Ltd, a spokesperson said

"Importance On The Livelihood And Safety Of Local Employees"

Kirin said that in its withdrawal it "will place importance on the livelihood and safety of local employees," who number approximately 1,450 between the two units.

Statement By Justice For Myanmar

Justice For Myanmar, an activist group that opposes the military junta, welcomed Kirin's exit.

"Millions have joined the boycott of Myanmar Beer, and this shows that collective action can disrupt the military cartel," the group said in a statement.

Decline In Sales

Kirin results show Myanmar Brewery sales declined 39% in 2021 from the year prior.

Buying Back Shares

Separately, Kirin said that it would buy back up to 3.6% of its shares worth 50 billion yen ($433.31 million).

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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Enjoy full access to Hospitality Ireland, our weekly email news digest, all website and app content, and every digital issue.
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