Japanese beer giant Kirin, linked to Australian brewers, cuts ties with Myanmar junta in what activists call an 'irresponsible exit'
6 July 2022
Japanese beer giant Kirin has signalled it will make good on a promise to disentangle its business from the Myanmar junta after a military coup last year.
Kirin was in joint ventures with Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL), a secretive military conglomerate, owning 51 per cent of both Myanmar Brewery and Mandalay Brewery, to MEHL's 49 per cent.
Kirin said it will transfer all of its shares to Myanmar Brewery in a share buyback scheme estimated to cost 22.4 billion yen ($243 million).
The company said it considered other options, such as transferring shares to a third party, but said MEHL would need to approve it and the lengthy process of finding an appropriate transferee would be at odds with the goal of a swift departure.
Kirin also considered liquidation, but determined that route should be "avoided because the loss of the [Myanmar Brewery] business due to liquidation would have a tremendous impact on local employees, business partners, and others in the local Myanmar communities".
A spokesperson for the beer company told the ABC: "Kirin will not make a profit on the sale of its shareholding.
"The sale price is significantly lower than the original investment made by Kirin in the joint ventures in 2015 and lower again than the valuation of the shareholding in 2019."