Kirin buys rest of Myanmar Brewery for $560mn

Aug 19, 2015, 12:13 PM EDT
Glasses of craft beer sit ready to be served inside the Bakusyu Club Popeye bar in the Ryogoku neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan, on Friday, May 1, 2015.
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Japan's Kirin brewer bought the remaining 55% of Myanmar Brewery for $560 million. Kirin, like many Japanese companies, is looking to offset weak sales in a shrinking domestic market by expanding overseas, reports Reuters. The Myanmar deal will pair Japan's second-biggest drinks maker with state-backed Myanmar Brewery, which makes Myanmar Beer,Myanmar Double Strong and Andaman Gold brands.

Kirin's announcement on Wednesday confirmed an earlier source-based story by Reuters. Singapore's F&N announced the completion of the sale in a separate statement, without naming Kirin. "Myanmar is an exciting market with considerable prospects," Kirin said in a statement. Myanmar Brewery has an 80 percent share of the Southeast Asian nation's beer market, which is forecast by research firm Euromonitor International to nearly double to $675 million in three years time from an estimated $375 million this year. Beer consumption rates in Myanmar are some of the lowest in Asia at just 3.2 liters per person in 2013, well below the 31 liters per person in neighboring Thailand, data from Euromonitor shows.

Beer consumption in Japan has slumped since 2001 as people turned to alternatives such as whisky and wine, notes Boomberg. The country is projected have a quarter fewer people by 2050, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Population Reference Bureau. Kirin’s sales in Japan have dropped 17 percent from 2010 while revenue from the Asia-Pacific area has climbed 9 percent, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Chairman Senji Miyake, who was then the president, said in February that the company is seeking acquisition opportunities in Southeast Asia and China. Myanmar is an “exciting market” because of its expected high growth and increasing consumer consumption, Kirin said in the statement.

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