Japan’s Kirin seeks arbitration to help end Myanmar venture

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Japanese beverage company Kirin Holdings is seeking commercial arbitration in a dispute over the opening of its joint venture brewery in Myanmar

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The company said it filed for arbitration in Singapore against Myanmar Economic Holdings Plc, a military-controlled company, to liquidate its venture Myanmar Brewery.

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MEHL has filed a petition for liquidation of the venture, which Kirin called in violation of the joint venture agreement and was an “unfair offer”. It said it has sought an injunction in the High Court of Singapore on December 2 and is also asking a Myanmar court to dismiss the MEHL’s plea.

Kirin, owner of the San Miguel, Fat Tire and Lion brands, announced that it would step down from the venture on February 1 shortly after Myanmar’s military seized power from its elected government.

The Tokyo-based company said that talks with MEHL have “revealed political instability, worsening security concerns and an increase in COVID-19 infections in Myanmar, and there has been no meaningful progress in the discussions.” ,

The Myanmar company “has been uncooperative,” it said.

The company’s response from Myanmar was not immediately available.

At the time he announced that he would be pulling out of Myanmar Brewery, Kirin said he was doing it as “a matter of urgency.”

Kirin said she also objected to the liquidation petition because of doubts about the “fairness and appropriateness” of the process.

Kirin said in its statement on Monday that it was seeking to end the joint venture with “the utmost consideration” to protect local employees and their families, business partners and customers.

“The goal of contributing to Myanmar’s economy and society through the beer business remains unchanged,” the statement said.

Kirin previously reported that Myanmar Brewery’s operating profit fell 5.3% in the July-September quarter from a year earlier, due to slower sales and rising costs.

The Myanmar operation produces beer under the brand names Myanmar, Kirin Ichiban, Andaman Gold and Black Shield. The joint venture was established in 1995.

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