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

Heineken is latest western brand to quit Russia: Dutch brewer says Ukraine war was ‘unprovoked and completely unjustified’

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

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

It will also stop taking any profits from its Russian business, which makes local brands such as Okhota and Zhigulevskoe, though these will still be sold.

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

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

Heineken, which also makes Red Stripe and Birra Moretti, hinted it could offload its Russian business, saying it is ‘assessing the strategic options’ for it.

Its Russian business makes up under 2 per cent of Heineken’s sales globally and employs 1,800 people. 

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands and baby goods business 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 light of its invasion of Ukraine.

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

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

Imperial, which owns Lambert & Butler and Rizla, said it was forced to close its Ukrainian business for employees’ safety. And it said it would close its factory in Volgograd, formerly Stalingrad, and stop all sales and marketing of its products.

Russia and Ukraine make up around 2 per cent of sales for Imperial and around 0.5 per cent of profit. 

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

Mothercare has operated as a franchise business since its UK business emerged from administration in 2020. 

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

Russia is one of its biggest markets and accounts for as much as 25 per cent of annual sales and was expected to bring in £6million profit over the next year.

Other western businesses shutting outlets 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 operations in Russia. Ikea has halted 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 shut 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 offerings’.

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


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