MYANMAR – Swiss food giant, Nestlé, has become the latest major foreign company to cease operations in Myanmar after a military coup two years ago that sparked widespread unrest, which resulted in tanking of the economy.
A spokesperson of Nestle announced the group will Nestle shutting down all factories in Myanmar. Due to the “current economic situation,” Nestle’s factory in the commercial hub Yangon, as well as its head office, would cease operations spokesperson told AFP, without giving a timeframe.
Nestle, which sells Nescafe instant coffee, Maggi noodles, and Milo chocolate malt beverage in Myanmar, would instead market and distribute Nestle products from Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the spokesperson said.
Recently, Nestle sold Nescafe instant coffee, Maggi noodles, and Milo chocolate malt beverage in Myanmar, according to VTV.vn.
The spokesperson noted there were 138 employees at Nestle’s Myanmar factory and head office. The company pledged to do all it can to support everyone affected by this decision.
At the end of January, –Kirin Holdings hinted its exit from the country through the sale of its 51% stake in its Myanmar joint venture Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHPCL), to its military-linked partner in the businesses Myanmar Brewery Limited (MBL) for 20.5 billion yen (US$160m).
Kirin Holdings said it decided the transfer of shares to MBL (MBL share buyback) was the most suitable means to terminate the joint venture as soon as possible.
Kirin entered the country seven years ago, acquiring majority control of Myanmar Brewery Ltd (MBL). However, the partnership was brought into question three years ago when MEHPCL was linked to the country’s military in a report by the UN.
The Southeast Asian nation of Myanmar has been in political turmoil, weakening its economy since 2021 with more than a million people losing their jobs, according to the International Labour Organization.
The putsch sparked renewed fighting with ethnic rebel groups as well as dozens of “People’s Defence Forces” that have sprung up to fight against the junta.
More than 3,000 people have been killed in the military’s crackdown on dissent since it seized power, and more than 19,000 have been arrested, according to a local monitoring group.
In March 2021, nearly 50 mostly Western international companies in Myanmar, including Coca-Cola, Facebook, H&M, Heineken, Nestle, and Unilever, signed a statement expressing concern about the country’s military coup, Nikkei Asia reported.
Other signatories to the MCRB statement include Adidas, Carlsberg, L’Oreal, Maersk, Metro, and Total, among other firms.