Carlsberg Myanmar plans to reduce production capacity due to a decline in beer consumption in the Asian country. However, the company has no plans to leave the country after the military coup d'état two months ago.
On 1 February 2021, Myanmar's military seized power and deposed democratically elected members of Myanmar's ruling party including State Counsellor and Nobel Prize Winner Aung San Suu Kyi. The military coup and the junta’s subsequent actions have triggered international condemnation and EU and US sanctions. NGOs have urged companies to review their presence, especially after more than 520 people have died in daily demonstrations in the last weeks.
Kirin Holdings already announced “to terminate [its] current joint-venture partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL), which provides the service of welfare fund management for the military.” The company also said it would “be taking steps as a matter of urgency to put this termination into effect.” (inside.beer, 5.2.2021)
Kirin bought in 2015 a majority stake in local beer market leader Myanmar Brewery and two years later another majority stake in Mandalay Brewery (inside.beer, 12.2.2017) with the rest still in hands of the military-backed MEHL.
Carlsberg, however, told AFP it has had “no contact” with the new authorities and had no intention to leave the country. The company employs 500 people locally.
Carlsberg Myanmar was set up in 2013 as a partnership between Carlsberg and Myanmar Golden Star Group (MGS Group), a company controlled by tycoon Thein Tun. Besides beverages, MGS Group is engaged in banking and microfinance, and has expanded its business portfolio by prioritizing hospitality and real estate.
The construction of a brewery commenced in October 2013 in Bago, a city 80 kilometers north of Yangon. On May 7th 2015, the Carlsberg Group officially inaugurated its brewery, the first international brewery in Myanmar, marking the official beginning of Carlsberg's business operations in Myanmar. In addition to Carlsberg beer, the Bago brewery also produces Tuborg and Yoma, a local brand created to meet the needs and taste-profiles of Myanmar consumers.