Ukraine war: Heineken and Carlsberg pull out of Russian over invasion

Both Heineken and Carlsberg have pulled out of Russia over the war with Ukraine (Picture: EPA/Shutterstock)

Beer giants Heineken and Carlsberg have announced they will withdraw from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

Dutch brewer Heineken said the move would cost it around 400million Euros (£334m).

Meanwhile Danish firm Carlsberg made around 682 million kroner (£77m) in operating profit last year in Russia, where it employees 8,400 workers.

Carlsberg, which runs Russia’s largest brewer, Baltika, said it has yet to calculate the cost of pulling out.

But it expects to make a ‘substantial loss’ from its departure.

CEO Cees ‘t Hart said: ‘We deeply regret the consequences of this decision for our 8,400 employees in Russia.’

The company made 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,’ he added.

Both Carlsberg and Heineken previously signalled their intentions to halt new investments and exports after Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine.

TOPSHOT - An eldery woman stands amid rubbles near a damaged apartment building at a front line discrict of Kharkiv on March 27, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

An eldery woman pictured in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

But today they confirmed they would exit Russia completely.

Heineken said it was very ‘shocked and very saddened’ to see the war in Ukraine ‘continuing and escalating’.

‘Following the previously announced strategic review of our operations, 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.

MARIUPOL, UKRAINE - MARCH 27: A view of a heavily damaged building after shelling in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol under the control of Russian military and pro-Russian separatists, on March 27, 2022. (Photo by Leon Klein/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The aftermath of shelling in the city of Mariupol as the Russian invasion continues to escalate (Picture: Getty)

‘As a result, we have decided to leave Russia.

‘We aim for an orderly transfer of our business to a new owner in full compliance with international and local laws.’

Heineken will continue with recent reduced operations during a transition period and said it will guarantee the salaries of 1,800 employees in Russia will be paid until the end of this year.

It hopes to ‘minimise’ the risk of the business being nationalised and says it will not profit from any sale deal.

‘We continue to hope that a path to a peaceful outcome emerges in the near term,’ the company added.

Meanwhile Carlsberg said in a statement: ‘The war in Ukraine, and the escalating humanitarian and refugee crisis, shocks us all.

‘We continue to strongly condemn the Russian invasion, which has led to so much loss of life, devastation and human tragedy.

‘On March 9 we announced a strategic review of the Carlsberg Group’s presence in Russia.

‘Based on this review, 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.

‘Upon completion we will have no presence in Russia.’

Russia-Ukraine war: Everything you need to know

It is a step further than many other big name brands which have temporarily turned their backs on Moscow in protest over the war.

McDonalds confirmed it is, for now, closing all of its 850 branches in Russia because it can’t ignore the ‘needless human suffering in Ukraine’.

Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Pepsi Co also said they were suspending all business activity in Russia.

Netflix, Xbox and Spotify have also joined the boycott, together with retailers including Ikea, Nike and H&M.

Sanctions have crippled the Russian economy, with the ‘catastrophic consequences’ forcing pensioners to fight for basic supplies including sugar.

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