Kirin will axe partnership in beer business

The military takeover of the government was the final blow for the troubled partnership between Japanese beverage giant Kirin and Tatmadaw-backed Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd. (MEHL). The company will divest its 55% stake in Myanmar Brewery, claiming the military’s latest actions are against its human rights policy.

“We decided to invest in Myanmar in 2015, believing that, through our business, we could contribute positively to the people and the economy of the country,” Kirin said in a statement. “Given the current circumstances, we have no option but to terminate our current joint-venture partnership.”

Although the coup is the stated reason for Kirin’s departure, Kirin has been re-evaluating its controversial partnership for some time. In 2020, Kirin launched an inquiry of MEHL’s financial records, and when the company failed to comply, Kirin commissioned a third party firm to conduct a formal audit. In January, shortly before the coup, Kirin announced that the audit was inconclusive.

Kirin’s departure marks the first large-scale foreign partnership ended ostensibly because of the coup. Other investors have at least paused operations. In a few notable examples, Japanese carmaker Suzuki froze activity on its Myanmar plants, and the Thai-backed USD 274 million Yangon Amata Smart and Eco City development is on hold indefinitely.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.