In recent months, efforts by major Western consumer goods companies to exit Russia have been hampered after Putin signed a decree in April.
Heineken has completed its exit from Russia, selling seven breweries to Russian packaging and consumer goods company Arnest Group for €1. The Dutch company posted a €300m loss but became one of the few consumer businesses to successfully exit Russia since Vladimir Putin's government changed the rules to make exiting the country more difficult.
The transaction has received all required approvals, Heineken announced, completing a process that began in March 2022.
Heineken's successful exit contrasts with Carlsberg, which saw its plans to sell its activities in the country to be overturned.
According to what has become known, there is no right to repurchase or return Heineken in Russia. However, the company assures that its withdrawal from the country and related losses will have a “negligible impact” on earnings per share, leaving its full-year guidance unchanged.
In recent months , efforts by major Western consumer goods companies to exit Russia have been hampered after Putin signed a decree in April allowing temporary state control of the assets of companies or individuals from unfriendly states.
Heineken's successful exit contrasts with rival Carlsberg, which saw its plans to sell its operations in the country derailed by a government seizure of its assets in July. Meanwhile, Anheuser-Busch InBev continues to hold a stake in a Russian beer company.
Heineken has faced pressure from consumers to leave Russia, which accounts for about 2% of its global sales, and has signaled its intention to do so for at least a year. In April it announced that it had applied to the Russian government to approve the sale of its operations. It had previously taken €210m worth of write-downs related to its Russian operations.
As part of the deal, the new owner will not have the right to use the Heineken brand in Russia while the Amstel brand will also be removed from the market. “Our intention was to remove as many international brands as possible, so we are very happy that the Amstel brand, the second largest brand, is being withdrawn,” said Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink.
The Heineken had about 1,800 employees in Russia and Arnest will guarantee their positions for the next three years, Heineken said. The Russian buyer will also assume approximately 100 million euros of debt related to Heineken's operations. Heineken's operations in Russia have posted losses for six of the past eight years, according to the company.