Nestlé looks to commit to Myanmar market

Swiss food giant Nestlé SA has confirmed that it is preparing to invest around US$50 million in Myanmar’s food and beverage industry over the next six years, in the latest sign yet of the Myanmar consumer market’s attractiveness to international firms.

A statement from the President’s Office issued on September 8 said that the investment will be focused on “coffee, milk and dairy products, drinking water and beverages”. The deal is pending approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission, which met with Nestlé representatives in Yangon early last month.

A spokesperson for Nestlé confirmed the statement but declined to comment further on the nature of the company’s investment.

The statement came following President U Thein Sein’s September 8 tour of a Nestlé factory near Bern, Switzerland. U Thein Sein was visiting Switzerland as part of a larger three-country, 10-day tour that also included stops in Germany and the Netherlands.

Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, formed a Myanmar-based subsidiary in September 2013 to explore opportunities in the country. The Vevey-headquartered company already exports a number of its products to Myanmar.

Consumer goods manufacturers have been eager to enter Myanmar’s market of 51.4 million people since reforms were initiated three years ago and a new foreign investment law enacted in 2012.

Nestlé competitor Unilever opened a production facility in May 2013. In June 2013, soft-drink manufacturer Coca-Cola opened a bottling factory outside Yangon. Rival PepsiCo followed suit in March, opening its own bottling facility.

Danish brewer Carlsberg is expecting to open its brewery by the end of this year, as is Dutch beer manufacturer Heineken. All major projects to date have been joint ventures with a Myanmar partner.


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