Home International Ukraine: two beer giants, Heineken and Carlsberg, withdraw from Russia

Ukraine: two beer giants, Heineken and Carlsberg, withdraw from Russia


Due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Dutch brewer Heineken announced on Monday that it would leave Russia, where it has 1,800 employees. The group was followed by the Danish brewer Carlsberg, which announced its decision to leave Russia with the sale of its important activities in the country, which have 8,400 employees.

A few hours after the Dutch Heineken, the Danish brewer Carlsberg announced on Monday its decision to leave Russia with the sale of its important activities in the country, which have 8,400 employees, following the invasion of Ukraine. “We have made the difficult and immediate decision to aim for a complete sale of our Russian business, which we believe is the right thing to do in the current environment. Once finalized, we will no longer have a presence in Russia,” explains the group in a press release.

13% of Carlsberg’s global sales in Russia

The announcement by Danish beer giant, which has owned major Russian brand Baltika since 2000, comes hours after a similar move by competitor Heineken. Carlsberg, one of the world’s leading brewers, had already suspended its production and sales in Russia in early March, and initiated an audit on its future in the country, the conclusions of which are announced on Monday.

Last year, the group achieved nearly 870 million euros in turnover in the country, or 13% of its sales, and more than 90 million in operating profit, or 9% of its profits. Until the sale of its Russian activities, “we will maintain the reduced level of activity to ensure the income of employees and their families”, specifies Carlsberg.

Profits donated to aid organizations

“Any profit generated during the humanitarian crisis will be donated to aid organisations,” said group boss Cees’t Hart. In the wake of this announcement, Carlsberg shares jumped nearly 8% on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange around 1 p.m. GMT, to 884.60 crowns.

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After entering the capital in 2000, Carlsberg became the majority shareholder of Baltika in 2008. The 8,400 employees in Russia represent nearly 20% of the total number of employees in the group, which in addition to Carlsberg owns the brands Tuborg, Kronenbourg and 1664. Hundreds of international companies and groups have announced in recent weeks, some under pressure, the suspension of their activities in Russia or their gradual withdrawal from the country due to the invasion of Ukraine.

Heineken “shocked and saddened” by the intensification of the fighting

Earlier Monday, Dutch brewer Heineken announced it would leave Russia, where it has 1,800 employees, saying it was “shocked and saddened” to see the conflict escalate in Ukraine. The company announced earlier this month that it was halting sales and production of its Heineken brand of beer in Russia, and suspending new investments and exports to the country. Hundreds of Western companies have started to withdraw from Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine, including Coca-Cola, Ikea, Goldman Sachs and McDonald’s.

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“We are shocked and deeply saddened to see the war in Ukraine (…) escalate,” Heineken said in a statement. The group’s activity in Russia is “no longer viable in the current environment”, underlined the second largest brewer in the world. “Therefore, we have decided to leave Russia,” he added. “We are aiming for an orderly transfer of our business to a new owner in full compliance with international and local laws,” Heineken said.

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