Japan brewer Kirin to exit Myanmar, seek sale of two units

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FILE PHOTO: The Kirin logo is displayed at Kirin Brewery Co. Yokohama Factory in Yokohama

TOKYO -Japanese beverage maker Kirin Holdings said on Monday it would withdraw from its business in Myanmar and terminate its joint venture with a military-linked partner.

Kirin has been in a dispute with local partner Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL) on how to wind-down their brewery venture following a military coup against the democratically elected government last year.

Even so, company executives previously said they wanted to remain in the Myanmar market.

The company will now seek to sell two business units in the country, Myanmar Brewery Ltd and Mandalay Brewery Ltd, a spokesperson said.

In its withdrawal, Kirin said it “will place importance on the livelihood and safety of local employees,” who number about 1,450 between the two units.

Separately, Kirin said it would buy back up to 3.6% of its shares worth 50 billion yen ($433.31 million).

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($1 = 115.3900 yen)

(Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill)

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