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Yoma Strategic, Pernod Ricard joint venture eyes Myanmar's whisky industry

MAINBOARD-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings on Friday said it intends to form a joint venture company with Pernod Ricard alongside other partners to produce and distribute whisky in Myanmar. 

Upon completion of the deal, Pernod Ricard will bring in an "internationally experienced management team" and become the largest shareholder in the new firm. The remaining equity will be split among Yoma Strategic, private equity firm Delta Capital Myanmar, and Win Brothers, a distillery group with production facilities in Yangon and Mandalay. 

"Pernod Ricard is the world’s second-largest wines and spirits company, and its market entry represents the first time a major global producer of wine and spirits has established a formal presence in Myanmar," the companies said in a joint statement on Friday.

The partnership will also see Pernod Ricard take the lead in the management of production facilities, distribution network, and the brand portfolio of Access Myanmar Distribution Company, the current joint venture between Yoma Strategic, Win Brothers and Delta Capital Myanmar.

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According to the companies, this includes access to more than 40,000 points of sale, 43 major wholesalers, 230 delivery vehicles and 250 employees dedicated to sales and marketing, as well as the High Class Whisky brand.

Said Yoma Strategic's CEO, Melvyn Pun: "We are delighted High Class Whisky will become part of the Pernod Ricard family alongside a portfolio of leading brands. Pernod Ricard brings a strong commitment to the local market, with best practices in distribution, marketing and production that will meaningfully strengthen our operations."

Completion of the transaction is expected to take place in 2019, subject to the restructuring of the High Class business, and customary conditions. 

Myanmar-focused Yoma Strategic has a diversified portfolio of businesses in real estate, consumer and financial services, among others. 

As at 9.46am on Friday, the counter was trading at S$0.455 apiece, up 1.1 per cent, or 0.5 Singapore cent.