Heineken quits Russia: Brewer slams ‘unprovoked and unjustified’ war against Ukraine

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Heineken is the latest Western brand to leave Russia: Dutch brewer says it no longer sells beer or advertises

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Heineken joined the exodus of Western brands from Russia as Ukraine’s invasion of Ukraine entered its 14th day.

The Dutch brewer said the war was “unprovoked and completely unjustified” and that it would stop advertising and selling Heineken beer in Russia.

It will also stop taking profits from its Russian operations, which make local brands such as Okhota and Zhigulevskoe, although these will still be sold.

Beer ban: Heineken said it would stop advertising and selling Heineken beer in Russia and stop taking profits from its Russian local brand business

Beer ban: Heineken said it would stop advertising and selling Heineken beer in Russia and stop taking profits from its Russian local brand business

Heineken, which also makes Red Stripe and Birra Moretti, hinted it could relieve its Russian operations, saying it is “assessing strategic options for the company.”

The Russian company accounts for less than 2 percent of Heineken’s worldwide turnover and employs 1,800 people.

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands and baby goods company Mothercare also said yesterday they would suspend operations in the country in response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Catering giant Compass has said it is pulling out of Russia and dropping all Russian suppliers in the face of the invasion of Ukraine.

Chief executive Dominic Blakemore said: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the acts of aggression by the Russian state against Ukraine and its people.”

And magic circle law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer said yesterday it will close its Moscow office and cut ties with Russia after 30 years in the country.

Imperial, owner of Lambert & Butler and Rizla, said it had to close its Ukrainian company for workers’ safety. And it said it would close its factory in Volgograd, the former Stalingrad, and stop all sales and marketing of its products.

Russia and Ukraine account for about 2 percent of Imperial sales and about 0.5 percent of profits.

Mothercare operates in Russia through a franchisee, Alshaya, and said it has discontinued trading in 120 stores and online.

Mothercare has been operating as a franchise business since the UK company came out of administration in 2020.

It stuck to the Mothercare brand and sells the rights to partners to sell products around the world.

Russia is one of the largest markets, accounting for a whopping 25 percent of annual sales and is expected to generate £6 million in profits in the coming year.

Other Western companies closing stores in Russia include KFC and Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands.

The fast food giant has 1,000 KFC restaurants and 50 Pizza Huts run by franchisees in Russia and said it is suspending all KFC restaurant operations in the country.

Coca-Cola, Starbucks and McDonald’s have also suspended their activities in Russia. Ikea has shut down operations in Russia and Marks & Spencer said it would end shipments to its franchise operator in the country. Burberry, Fortnum’s and Harrods will also close their doors in the country.

Cadbury owner Mondelez has come under pressure for refusing to stop trading there. In a statement last night, it said it would scale back its operations in Russia and focus on “basic supply.”

But Camel and Newport cigarette maker British American Tobacco went against the grain by refusing to back out.

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