Brewer AB InBev To Sell Its Interest In Russia
Anheuser-Busch InBev ABI.BR plans to exit Russia by selling its interest in a joint venture with Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes that operates in Russia and Ukraine and expects to take a $1.1 billion charge as a result.
The announcement on Friday 22 April by the world's largest brewer, based in Belgium, comes after similar moves from its rivals Carlsberg CARLb.CO and Heineken HEIN.AS following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow dubs a "special operation" to demilitarise its neighbour.
In March, AB InBev sought to suspend sales of its Bud brand in Russia and said it would forfeit profits from the AB InBev Efes joint venture.
On Friday 22 April, it said that it would sell its non-controlling interest in the venture and was in active discussions for Anadolu Efes AEFES.IS, to acquire it.
It added it would no longer recognise investments in the venture and will report a $1.1 billion non-cash impairment charge in its first-quarter results due on 5 May.
The venture contributed $1 million to AB InBev's profit in 2021.
Anadolu Efes confirmed it had started negotiations over the sale. It is not clear if AB InBev aims to keep a presence in Ukraine, but it has requested that the venture stop the production and sale of Bud brand beer in Russia.
AB InBev shares were trading down 2.7% at 1220 GMT on Friday 22 April, while Anadolu Efes was up 1.7%. The STOXX 600 European food and beverage index .SX3P was 0.4% weaker at the time.
AB InBev has a 24% stake in Anadolu Efes, part of its 2016 purchase of next largest rival SABMiller. They formed the AB InBev Efes 50:50 joint venture in 2018, combining their respective Russian and Ukrainian businesses.
The venture has 11 breweries in Russia, employing 3,500 people and three in Ukraine, employing 1,800. Carlsberg is the leading Western player in Russia, followed by AB InBev.
The Danish brewer said on Thursday 21 April that its decision to sell its business in Russia would result in a writedown of approximately $1.4 billion. Dutch rival Heineken HEIN.AS has that said its Russia exit would amount to related charges of approximately €400 million.
AB InBev also said that it had introduced popular Ukrainian beer Chernigivske to many countries, including Britain, Germany, Belgium, France, Brazil and Colombia, with profits going to support humanitarian relief efforts.
"All profits from the sale of Chernigivske will go to support humanitarian relief efforts and AB InBev is guaranteeing at least five million dollars of support from this humanitarian initiative," it said.