Kirin leaves Myanmar and ends its partnership with a military entity

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Kirin Holdings Co. announced on Monday that it would quit the Myanmar beer market to quickly end a business partnership with a military-linked entity in the Southeast Asian country.

The Japanese beverage maker decided in February last year to dissolve its partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Co. shortly after the army seized power in a coup, but did not failed to negotiate so far.

Kirin Holdings chairman Yoshinori Isozaki speaks during an online press conference on February 14, 2022. (Kyodo)

Kirin said he hopes his withdrawal from the two joint ventures – Myanmar Brewery Ltd. and Mandalay Brewery Ltd. – with the military-affiliated company could be resolved by the end of June through the sale of the shares he holds in the entities.

Kirin said it recorded impairments of 68 billion yen ($589 million) in its Myanmar operations for the year ended December.

The ouster on February 1 last year of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her democratically elected government was “against the human rights standards and policies of Kirin Holdings”, he said. in a press release.

In December, a subsidiary of Kirin filed for commercial arbitration with the Singapore International Arbitration Center after Myanma Economic Holdings unilaterally requested the liquidation of Myanmar Brewery.

Despite the filing, the Japanese company felt it would be difficult to quickly dissolve the joint venture on its terms.

“We noted strong opposition from the military affiliate against the release from them (at both companies), so we offered withdrawal as a realistic option,” the chairman and chief executive said Monday. of Kirin Holdings, Yoshinori Isozaki, at a press conference.

Under the current structure, beer companies in Myanmar are each 51% owned by Kirin and 49% owned by Myanma Economic Holdings.

In developing an exit plan, Kirin said it will give importance to the livelihoods and safety of local employees and their families, and give due consideration to all stakeholders in accordance with its policy. in matters of human rights.

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