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Heineken To Exit Russia At Cost Of Approximately €400m

By Dave Simpson

Dutch brewing giant Heineken HEIN.AS said on Monday 28 March that it has decided to exit its business in Russia at an expected cost of €400 million, after previously saying that it would only halt new investment and exports to the country.

Details

The company joins a raft of Western brands shuttering businesses in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, with Heineken's move likely to dial up pressure on Danish rival Carlsberg CARLb.CO, the owner of Russia's biggest brewer, Baltika.

"We have concluded that Heineken's ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment," the company said in a statement, adding that it would not profit from any transfer of ownership.

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Heineken is the third largest brewer in Russia, where it owns local brands Bochkarev, Okhota and Tri Medvedya. It said it aimed for an "orderly transfer" and would continue the business with reduced operations during a transition period to minimise the risk of nationalisation.

The company said that it would guarantee the salaries of its 1,800 Russian employees to the end of this year and expected an impairment charge and other non-cash exceptional charges of approximately €400 million.

Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has urged international companies to leave the Russian market after Moscow launched what it termed its "special military operation" against its neighbour.

Although Heineken is a major player on the Russian market, sales there account for just 2% of the company's total.

Shares were up 0.8% at €88.16 by 0835 GMT on Monday 28 March in Amsterdam.

Carlsberg, Anadolu Efes And InBev, And Bud Beer

Carlsberg, with a 27.3% local market share, is still selling beer under the Baltika brand but said earlier this month it had begun a strategic review of its business in the country and was suspending Russian brewing of its namesake brand of beer.

"Heineken's decision probably does not make the situation easier for Carlsberg," said Nordnet analyst Per Hansen in a research note.

Russia's second largest brewer is a joint venture owned by Turkey's Anadolu Efes AEFES.IS and Belgium's InBev ABI.BR.

InBev said earlier in March that it would stop selling Bud beer in Russia and forego profits from the joint venture, which has 11 breweries and 3,500 employees in the country.

News by Reuters, edited by Hospitality Ireland. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.

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