Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Asahi to enter Myanmar in new soft-drinks deal

Beverage manufacturer Loi Hein is to partner with the Japan-based Asahi group to form a major new soft-drinks company in Myanmar. Subject to approval by the Myanmar Investment Commission, Loi Hein would take 49 percent of the company, in which Asahi would invest about ¥2.3 billion (US$22 million) to acquire a controlling 51pc share.

U Sai Sam Tun, who founded Loi Hein in 1992, said he expected MIC approval within weeks.

Loi Hein will continue to produce its Blue Mountain brand of carbonated soft drinks initially, but plans to diversify into Asahi’s brand Calpis as well as tea and coffee over the next five years. Asahi has no plans to begin producing beer in Myanmar, citing the arrival of Carlsberg and Heineken, both of which are building breweries outside Yangon.

U Sai Sam Htun said he would sign similar joint venture agreements within the year with other foreign companies to bolster the portfolio of energy drink brand Shark, Alpine water and Tip Top natural juice line. Alpine is Myanmar’s bestselling water brand.

“We will have new names, new brands, new ideas. We will not stop here,” U Sai Sam Htun said.

Tip Top is the company’s newest brand and an attempt to compete in a juice market that is largely dominated by imports from Thailand.

If all four joint ventures are signed, Loi Hein expects that it will add an additionally 1300 employees, bringing the total workforce to about 4000.

U Sai Sam Htun had previously told The Myanmar Times that he was concerned when soft-drink giants Coca-Cola and Pepsi announced plans to enter the Myanmar market, but said that his fears had “disappeared” after strong growth of 40pc from Blue Mountain in 2013.

source: The Myanmar Times
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