Singapore businessman to end exposure to Myanmar military-linked tobacco firm

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A prominent Singapore businessman said he will exit his investment exposure to a Myanmar military-linked tobacco firm, after the army staged a coup deposing the country’s democratically elected government.

Lim Kaling, co-founder of Hong Kong-listed gaming group Razer, said in a statement on Tuesday he was a minority shareholder in Virginia Tobacco Company through RMH Singapore Pte Ltd, owner of 49% of the Myanmar firm.

The rest of Virginia Tobacco is owned by Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company (MEHL), one of two conglomerates run by Myanmar’s powerful military, according to a 2019 UN report.

“Recent events there (in Myanmar) cause me grave concern,” Lim said in an emailed statement. “I hope for a time when I can be an investor in the country and its people once more.”

Foreign firms with investments in Myanmar have come under increased scrutiny since the coup. Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings on Friday scrapped its beer alliance that tied it to MEHL.

Singapore has been the largest source of foreign investment into Myanmar in recent years, according to reports by both governments.

Reporting by John Geddie; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Tom Hogue