Dutch brewing giant Heineken (HEIN.AS) said on Monday it has decided to exit its business in Russia, after previously saying it would halt new investments and exports there, anticipating a charge of 400 million euros.
“We have concluded that Heineken’s ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment,” it said in a statement, adding that it would not profit from any transfer of ownership.
Heineken, which brews the Botsjkarev, Ochota en Tri Medvjedja brands in Russia, said it aimed for an “orderly transfer” and that it would continue the business with reduced operations during a transition period to minimise the risk of nationalisation.
The company said it would guarantee the salaries of its 1,800 employees by the end of this year.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has urged international companies to leave the Russian market after the country launched the large-scale military invasion of its neighbour a month ago.
Rival Carlsberg (CARLb.CO), which owns Russia’s biggest brewer Baltika, 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.
Earlier in March, Heineken had said it would stop making and selling its beer in Russia and that it would no longer accept any net financial benefits from its operations there.