Heineken to exit Russia at cost of around 400 million euros
AMSTERDAM/COPENHAGEN March 28 (Reuters) – Brewing giants Carlsberg and Heineken said on Monday they would exit Russia, joining an exodus of Western companies as pressure grows on Moscow following its invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged international companies to turn their backs on the Russian market after the launch last month of what Moscow termed a “special military operation” against its neighbour.
For Carlsberg, the Western brewer most exposed to Russia, the exit would result in a “substantial non-cash impairment charge” this year, it said without providing further details.
The company holds a 27% share of the local market through its ownership of the country’s biggest brewer, Baltika.
“We have taken the difficult and immediate decision to seek a full disposal of our business in Russia, which we believe is the right thing to do in the current environment,” Carlsberg said. “Upon completion we will have no presence in Russia.”
The company’s shares, which have fallen by roughly a quarter since the start of the invasion, traded 4.2% higher on Monday, heading for their best day since November 2020.
Heineken, the third largest brewer in Russia, earlier said it was aiming for an “orderly transfer” of its local business, which accounts for just 2% of total sales, reducing its operations during a transition period to minimise the risk of nationalisation.
The Dutch brewer Heineken expects to book related charges of around 400 million euros ($438 million) and said it would guarantee the salaries of its 1,800 employees in Russia until the end of the year.
“We have concluded that Heineken’s ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable nor viable,” the company said in a statement, adding that it would not profit from any transfer of ownership.
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