Myanmar: Distributor sues Carlsberg over unpaid beer promotion

Carlsberg Myanmar, the local arm of the Danish brewer in the Southeast Asian nation formerly known as Burma, is sued by Myat Hmwei Trading Company, one of its distributors for not paying the cost for a promotion of its local Yoma beer in 2018. If sentenced six senior managers of Carlsberg Myanmar, including its managing director Christoph Vavrik (58), a former Member of Parliament in Austria for right-wing party ÖVP (Austrian People's Party), are facing up to seven years in prison.

U Ye Tun, managing director of the beer distributor said that his claim of MMK 600 million (USD 395,000) stems from a promotion, where Carlsberg offered to buy three cartons of Yoma beer and get one carton free. “But they neglected to give us the free cartons,” he told Frontier, a fortnightly magazine.

However, according to Carlsberg Myat, Hmwei submitted inaccurate and varying computations and unfounded sales reports to request more promotional products than it was due. “We rejected their demands and offered instead to deliver what was due according to the official records. But they never replied to this offer,” Vavrik was quoted by Frontier.

It is now up to the court to decide who is right and who is wrong. The next hearing is set for next week on September 5.

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 new local brand created to meet the needs and taste-profiles of Myanmar consumers.

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