German food wholesaler Metro to end its operations in Myanmar

The German food wholesale company Metro has said it will shutter its operations in Myanmar by the end of October, making it the latest multinational firm to flee the country since February’s coup.

“The economic framework and prospects for Metro’s professional customers have been hampered by the Covid-19 restrictions and have further deteriorated since early 2021,” the company said in an announcement on Wednesday.

“This means that the conditions for a growing and profitable food wholesale business in the country are severely compromised.”

The exit means 131 employees will lose their jobs.  Metro said it would assist these staff members “in a responsible manner”. 

Metro launched in Myanmar in 2019 and serves 7,500 business customers, from hotels and restaurants to catering services and shops. It operates a 5,900 square meter warehouse in the Thilawa industrial zone near Yangon. 

The company’s Myanmar subsidiary, a joint venture with Yoma Strategic Holdings, received a $20m loan from the International Finance Corporation in 2019 to help it source produce from local farmers. 

In its latest Myanmar Economic Monitor report in July, the World Bank listed 11 major companies, including Telenor, Toyota, and France’s EDF, that have left the country or suspended operations since the coup. 

Myanmar Metals Limited, an Australian firm, recently announced it was pulling out of the Bawdwin mining project in northern Shan State. 

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