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Lawsuit against Myanmar Carlsberg to proceed in court

A lawsuit filed against six senior employees of Myanmar Carlsberg Company, including its managing director, for cheating under section 420 of the Penal Code will proceed despite attempts to settle out of court, U Ye Tun, managing director of Myat Hmwei Trading Company, which filed the suit, told The Myanmar Times after an October 22 hearing.

Under a case management plan prescribed by the court, the plaintiff, defendants and their lawyers had met to discuss how to proceed with the suit in Thingangyun, Yangon.

“There’s no plan to settle out of court because we filed the lawsuit based on principles of integrity,” U Ye Tun said during an interview at his office.

He said the lawsuit came about as a result of a beer promotion campaign by Myanmar Carlsberg which took place in October 2018. As part of the campaign, a small carton of Yoma Beer would be given away for every purchase of three large cartons of the beer.

Myat Hmwei is accusing Myanmar Carlsberg for not giving them the correct amount of free cartons promised under the campaign. According to U Ye Tun, Myanmar Carlsberg still owes his company 22,615 cartons of Yoma Beer worth about K270 million.

“The Carlsberg promotion took place in October 2018. We sued in April this year. During that period, we contacted Myanmar Carlsberg many times to settle this issue. We also asked to meet the managing director, Christoph Vavrik, in person to address it. But they refused to meet with us. Instead, they offered us an amount of beer that is much lower than what should be given under the promotion. We can’t accept their offer,” said U Ye Tun.

He added that Myat Hmwei had already distributed cartons of Yoma Beer to its resellers in advance, based on the understanding that it would receive the equivalent number of bonus cartons from Myanmar Carlsberg later.

Myat Hmwei trades with Myanmar Carlsberg under an advanced deposit arrangement where it pays for beers from Myanmar Carlsberg in advance. The company distributes cigarettes and alcohol to shops and beer stations in Yangon and has stopped buying products directly from Myanmar Carlsberg since January.

Section 420 of the Penal Code carries a punishment of up to seven years’ imprisonment and a fine. Last month, the judge hearing the case rejected a request to excuse three foreign employees of Myanmar Carlsberg from attending each hearing in person.

In a statement prepared for The Myanmar Times last month, Carlsberg Myanmar said that it prides itself on being an ethical business and expects its employees, its suppliers and its customers to share these standards in all the markets where it conducts business, including Myanmar.

Carlsberg Myanmar said that its employees are being “smeared by false allegations by Myat Hmwei,” and that all six employees had appeared at a September 5 court hearing to abide by the legal process. The company added that by not appearing in scheduled court proceedings on the day, Myat Hmwei’s actions amounted to “a harassment to our business and personnel.”

“We maintain this case is a commercial dispute between the parties. We are confident of the merits of our case and fully intend to defend our company and our employees against unfounded accusations of Myat Hmwei before the courts,” Carlsberg Myanmar said in the statement.

The company did not entertain requests for comment by The Myanmar Times on October 22.

Myanmar Carlsberg operates a US$100 million Bago brewery making Carlsberg, Tuborg and Yoma beers as well as Black Eagle Stout. It was established in 2013 under a partnership between Danish-brewer Carlsberg and Myanmar Golden Star Company (MGS). MGS is controlled by U Thein Tun, who also owns The Myanmar Times.

Source: Myanmar Times

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