Fraser & Neave also claimed victory in the decision

Fraser & Neave also claimed victory in the decision

A Myanmar conglomerate has won a legal battle to wrest control of a brewing joint venture from Fraser & Neave (F&N).

Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) said today a Singapore arbitration panel ruled that it has the right to buy Fraser & Neave's 55% stake in Myanmar Brewery, the country's biggest beer producer. “We are very pleased with the ruling,” said U Myint Aung, MEHL’s deputy MD.

However, the panel dismissed MEHL’s US$246 valuation of the stake and ordered an independent assessment, prompting F&N to also claim victory in the ruling.

F&N said the decision to set a new price was a “vindication” of its position and the MEHL valuation was “grossly inadequate”

Huang Hong Peng, F&N's CEO for beer added that it “continues to believe that MEHL’s price of US$246 million did not take into account Myanmar Brewery's leadership position in the Myanmar beer market, and at a time when Myanmar Brewery's profit is growing at a phenomenal rate of nearly 50% over the last year". 

MEHL started arbitration against F&N in September last year, claiming the right to take full control of Myanmar Brewery in the wake of Heineken's takeover of Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) from F&N. MEHL said the JV was now invalid because the agreement was with APB and not F&N.

Myanmar Brewery's brands include Myanmar Beer, Myanmar Double Strong and Andaman Gold.

Today, MEHL, which is reportedly owned by the Myanmar military, said its decision to take the case to arbitration under Singapore law showed its commitment to the rule of law and due process.

“It is very important for Myanmar that foreign investors have confidence in the way we do business,” U Myint Aung said.

Carlsberg and Heineken are building breweries in Myanmar. Carlsberg's site is expected to be completed by the end of this year.