Thai Beverage – F&N: Trouble frothing between Myanmar Brewery partners

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Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) is attempting to take control of Myanmar Brewery Ltd from its Singapore-based joint venture partner Fraser and Neave, according to a release by Fraser and Neave on the Singaporean stock exchange.

Military-run MEHL submitted a notice to Fraser and Neave stating its intention to seek arbitration regarding a potential claim under the joint venture agreement, which would allow MEHL to force the sale of Fraser and Neave’s stake to the Myanmar firm, the release said.

“[Fraser and Neave] maintains that there is no basis for MEHL to give that notice,” it said, adding the firm “has engaged lawyers and intend to vigorously resist the claim”.

Myanmar Brewery is the brewer of popular domestic brands Myanmar Beer and Andaman Gold. Fraser and Neave owns 55 percent of the brewery, with the remaining 45pc share held by MEHL.

Fraser and Neave said in the release it is still assessing the financial impact of the potential dispute.

The partners initially formed Myanmar Brewery in Yangon’s Mingalardon township in 1995.

Thai Beverage, owned by billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, purchased control of Fraser and Neave last year for US$2.2 billion. Fraser and Neave subsequently sold its share in Asia Pacific Breweries – the firm behind Tiger Beer – to its former partners in Dutch firm Heineken, though held on to its stake in Myanmar Brewery Ltd among other businesses.

Both Fraser and Neave and MEHL declined to comment on the basis for the arbitration notice when contacted by reporters last week.

Source: Myanmar Times

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