Heineken, the Dutch brewer, announced on Friday that it has completed its exit from Russia. The company sold its operations in the country to Russia’s Arnest Group for a symbolic price of €1. The deal has received all the necessary approvals and is expected to result in exceptional losses of €300 million for Heineken. The decision to exit Russia was made in March 2022, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Heineken acknowledged that the process took longer than anticipated.
In a statement, Heineken’s Chief Executive, Dolf van den Brink, highlighted the challenges faced by large manufacturing companies when exiting Russia. Many multinational companies have chosen to leave Russia due to the unprecedented sanctions imposed by the West. However, the Kremlin has retaliated by seizing some assets. In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to take control of French yoghurt maker Danone’s Russian subsidiary and Carlsberg’s stake in a local brewer. Anheuser-Busch InBev also plans to exit its joint venture in Russia with Turkey’s Efes.
Heineken had seven breweries in Russia and employed 1,800 people. The employees will receive employment guarantees for the next three years. The company had already removed its Heineken brand from Russia last year, and the production of Amstel will be phased out within six months. As part of the deal, Heineken has granted a three-year license for some smaller regional brands. However, the company will not provide brand support or receive any proceeds for these brands.
Arnest Group, the buyer, is a major can packaging business and the largest Russian manufacturer of aerosols. The company also sells cosmetics and household goods. Heineken stated that the transaction will have a negligible impact on its full-year outlook.
In conclusion, Heineken has successfully completed its exit from Russia by selling its operations to Arnest Group. The decision to leave Russia was prompted by the challenges faced by multinational companies due to the sanctions imposed by the West. The sale includes a three-year license for some smaller regional brands, but Heineken will not provide brand support or receive any proceeds for these brands. The transaction is not expected to have a significant impact on Heineken’s full-year outlook.