Which companies are leaving Russia and which are staying? Here’s a look
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — More than 500 companies have suspended their business in Russia, and a similar number have withdrawn completely.
An additional 151 are “scaling back,” 175 are “buying time” and 230 are “digging in,” according to database kept by Yale University. Chinese companies figure prominently in the last category.
Here’s a look at some of the Western companies that have chosen to stay or exit Russia:
— Volkswagen on Friday closed a deal to sell its Russian business, including its plant in the western city of Kaluga with 4,000 employees, to an entity supported by Russian dealer Avilon.
The agreement had been delayed for months by a lawsuit from Russian automaker GAZ. It made cars under contract for VW until the partnership was ended by what the Germany company calls a mutual agreement in May 2022.
Though VW has disposed of its Russia business, it still must contend with the lawsuits.
— KFC owner Yum! Brands withdrew from Russia in March 2022 and some of the restaurants have rebranded as Rostic’s, a former post-Soviet brand.
“The workers are welcoming, just as before,” 33-year-old teacher Timofey Sosnovsky said at a newly reopened Moscow location, where people dug into familiar red- and white-striped buckets of chicken and boxes of nuggets. “I actually didn’t feel any difference between KFC and Rostic’s.”
— Austrian forest products company Mondi is still waiting for approval after reaching a deal in August to sell its assets, including a large mill in the northern city of Syktyvkar, for 95 billion rubles ($1.5 billion) to billionaire Viktor Kharitonin’s Augment Investments Group.
It also still hasn’t gotten approval after Gotek Group agreed in December to buy three smaller Mondi packaging operations.
— Another forest products company, Stora Enso, divested its packaging plants to local management but is still waiting for approval to shed two smaller Russian logging companies.
— Italian power generating company Enel agreed to sell its power plant holdings partly to Russian oil company Lukoil, which has been under U.S. sanctions since 2014, when Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
— Burger King, owned by Restaurant Brands International, and Carl’s Jr., which belongs to CKE Restaurents, are both still open in Moscow. Neither company responded to emailed questions.
Last year, RBI International President David Shear said in a letter to employees that franchise agreements made it impossible to force the local operator to shut down while the company tries to sell its 15% share in the joint Russia venture. Its partners included the investment arm of state-owned VTB Bank.
“There are no legal clauses that allow us to unilaterally change the contract,” he said. “This is also why you may see other brands in Russia with similar structures continue to operate in the market.”
Any profits are being donated to the U.N.’s refugee agency.
— Products from Italian drinks company Campari Group, which makes the popular Aperol liquor, are still available in Russia.
The company has said it would halt advertising and reduce business to just enough to pay its 118 workers in Russia. It didn’t respond to an emailed request for comment.
— Quincy, Illinois-based Titan International, maker of tires for farm tractors, has kept its majority stake in its factory in the southwestern city of Volgograd.
The Russia plant “serves a critical need of the global supply chain of food and agriculture,” CEO Paul Reitz said in a conference call with analysts. “We do continue to operate and follow all sanctions that are in place” and there is “no cash going in, no cash going out.”
The company doesn’t supply the Russian government or the military, he said.
— Turkey’s Anadolu Efes has launched new products in Russia, including an energy drink and an alcohol-free beer, according to its first-quarter earnings report.
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