Kirin may enter beer market in Myanmar

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Kirin Holdings Co. is considering entering the beer market in Myanmar, initially aiming to sell its main Ichiban Shibori brand beer there, it has been learned.

With Myanmar’s economy growing with its democratization, beer consumption is also expected to expand. Kirin sees Myanmar as a priority market, according to sources.

Myanmar has a population of about 62 million, about the same as that of Thailand, and its gross domestic product per capita is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 6 percent to 7 percent in the coming years from about 800 dollars (about 70,000 yen) in 2011. In Vietnam, which began economic reform before Myanmar, beer consumption is growing by 13 percent a year on average.

Kirin Holdings acquired a 48 percent stake in San Miguel Brewery in the Philippines in 2009, which helped the firm successfully enter markets in Thailand and Vietnam.

Kirin Holdings is reportedly considering selling Ichiban Shibori beer produced in Japan in Myanmar with the help of San Miguel.

Kirin Holdings also aims to buy the beverage arm of Fraser and Neave Ltd., a major beverage and real estate firm in Singapore, for about 70 billion yen in 2013.

Because a Fraser and Neave subsidiary, Myanmar Brewery, is already producing and selling beer in Myanmar, Kirin Holdings hopes to start producing and selling beer in that nation if the buyout succeeds.

The firm is believed to be eyeing production and sales of inexpensive local beers in Myanmar in the future.

According to Kirin Holdings data on global beer consumption in 2011, China topped the list for the ninth consecutive year, at 48.99 million kiloliters, up 10.7 percent from 2010, followed by the United States, at 23.86 million kiloliters, down 1.2 percent.

Emerging Asian nations are expected to lead the world in beer consumption in the future.