Kirin suspends dividends from Myanmar joint venture

In a press release from Thursday November 11, Kirin Holdings Company Ltd, announced that all dividend payments from Myanmar Brewery Limited (MBL), and Mandalay Brewery Limited (MDL), to Kirin and its Myanmar-army affiliated partner Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company (MEHPCL) have been suspended in view “of a significant lack of visibility regarding the future business environment, including the ongoing assessment into the destination of proceeds from MBL and MDL.”

Kirin holds 51% of both JVs, with MEHPCL holding the remaining 49%. Myanmar Brewery profits in 9 months, as of September 30, 2020, stood at USD 100 million despite sales being down 3.3% YoY due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This suspension is the result of an ongoing audit stemming from a public campaign from Burma Campaign UK calling the Japanese beer maker to cut off ties with its controversial Myanmar partner.

On June 5th this year, Kirin had appointed Deloitte Tohmatsu to conduct an independent review of MEHCPL’s financial and governance structures to determine the destination of proceeds “as a matter of emergency.”

The press release ends up stating that Kirin “takes its responsibilities seriously and will take necessary action to ensure business activities adhere to the highest standards and an update will be provided in due course.”

Activist organisations such as Burma Campaign UK, Amnesty International or Justice for Myanmar, already calling for a boycott of the brand, welcomed the decision and were quick to ask for transparency on the report preliminary findings.

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