Japan’s Kirin exits Myanmar business

Japanese drinks company Kirin Holdings will sell its Myanmar business to its military-linked local partner, it said, exiting the South-East Asian country more than a year after the military toppled an elected government.

Kirin will sell its 51% stake in the Myanmar Brewery Limited joint venture to partner Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited for 22.4 billion yen (RM722mil), it said in a statement yesterday.

The deal draws to a close the Japanese drink giant’s more than year-long wrangling with the partner over the business.

Kirin executives initially said they wanted to remain in the market somehow, but after a year of negotiations the two sides agreed in February to terminate the venture.The brewer yesterday said it had also considered transferring its stake to a third party or liquidating the business, but decided not to pursue either of those options.

Transferring the stake would require a “lengthy process” at odds with its goal of exiting as soon as possible, it said, while liquidation would have “tremendous impact” on Myanmar employees, partners and the community, it said.

Rights group Justice for Myanmar criticised the sale as a “windfall for the Myanmar military” that would ensure the junta a steady stream of revenue.

“Kirin appears to be excusing this irresponsible exit by claiming it is in the best interests of workers,” Justice for Myanmar spokesperson Yadanar Maung said.

“The responsible move is to deny funds to the military and remedy negative impacts to workers through compensation.” — Reuters

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drinks , Kirin Holdings , military


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