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July 1, 2022

Kirin Holdings to sell Myanmar JV shares to partner

Deal follows Kirin’s announcement in February of plans to withdraw from the ventures.

By Dean Best

Kirin Holdings is to sell its stakes in ventures in Myanmar to its military-linked partner in the businesses.

The moves, announced yesterday (30 June), comes four months after Kirin said it would “withdraw” from the ventures.

That decision signalled the end of a row between the two companies triggered by a military coup in the country last year.

Kirin entered the country seven years ago, acquiring majority control of Myanmar Brewery Ltd (MBL). It bought an interest in a second brewer, Mandalay Brewery, two years later. Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL) held the remaining shares in both beer makers.

The partnership was brought into question three years ago when MEHPCL was linked to the country’s military in a report by the UN.

In a filing, Japan-based Kirin said its Singapore subsidiary will sell its shares in MBL back to the brewery for JPY22.4bn (US$165.8m).

In 2021, MBL generated revenue of MMK282.8bn (US$152.6m) and “normalised” operating profit of MMK96.5bn. A year earlier, it had booked revenue of MMK408.7bn and normalised operating profit of MMK177.3bn.

The sale of Mandalay Brewery Limited “has been agreed to in a similar manner and schedule”, it added.

Campaign group Justice for Myanmar has criticised the way Kirin has exited the ventures.

A spokesperson said: “Kirin’s decision to hand over control of Myanmar Brewery and Mandalay Brewery to military conglomerate Myanma Economic Holdings Limited is a windfall for the Myanmar military and will ensure a continued stream of revenue to finance atrocity crimes.”

Kirin said it had ruled out a transfer of shares to a third party and liquidating the business. It added: “Kirin Holdings has decided on a share transfer to MBL in a share buyback transaction to quickly terminate the joint venture, while taking into consideration the impact on local employees, business partners, and others in the local Myanmar communities.”

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