Carlsberg, Heineken rise despite govt revoking approval to operate

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic BLOOMBERG

SHARES of Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd and Heineken Malaysia Bhd rose yesterday despite the government reversing its earlier decision to allow the two beverage brewing companies to restart limited operations during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

Carlsberg closed 0.33% or eight sen higher yesterday at RM24.40, while Heineken jumped 1.32% or 28 sen to 21.46.

Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said yesterday the approvals granted to two brewers to operate during the imposition of the MCO have been revoked.

He said the decision was made at a special Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday afternoon.

“We made the decision that the approvals granted are revoked or cancelled,” he said at a press conference after the meeting.

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will issue a revocation letter immediately…so the issue about the Heineken and Carlsberg factories operating does not arise,” he added.

The Malaysian Reserve has reached out to Heineken for a comment as at press time.

Previously, a letter allegedly issued by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry (KPDNHEP) allowing the breweries to operate during the imposition of the MCO had been circulating on social media.

The letter dated March 31 stated the application made by the companies to continue operating had fulfilled the relevant criteria as it was categorised within the food supply sector.

Under the MCO, companies categorised as essential services such as food and water are allowed to continue operating.

The food supply sector and its chain of essential services is also permitted to operate as usual. On March 24, Heineken said it had suspended operations of its brewery in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, due to the order.

However, yesterday Heineken said it had received approval from the KPDNHEP to resume limited operations with a minimal number of essential workers during the MCO.

Heineken said only essential staff, which was less than 10% of its workforce, would be involved in ensuring a continuous and uninterrupted supply of its products, while non-essential workers would continue to operate from home.

The operations of the breweries had become a matter of contention among various quarters after it was said that such approval was against the MCO which only allowed essential services to continue operating, while alcohol was not considered essential during the imposition of the order.