Friday 31 March 2023

Heineken admits it has still not cut ties with on its Russian operations

A display of Heineken cans in Moscow in 2018. The brand is no longer sold in Russia. Photo: Depositphotos

Dutch beer giant Heineken has admitted that it still controls its brands’ Russian operations, a year after announcing it was cutting ties following the invasion of Ukraine.

Investigative website Follow the Money revealed last week that the launch of 61 new products in Russia last year, including new varieties of Amstel, was signed off by head office in Amsterdam.

The company initially said that Heineken Russia was a fully independent operation and issued a press released describing the reports as ‘absolutely untrue and misleading’.

But on Tuesday it released a new statement admitting headquarters had approved the plan, which was ‘necessary to prevent liquidation’.

Heineken also admitted that the process of uncoupling its Russian business had not yet started, despite saying last year that it had already begun to scale down its activities.

‘We are now entering the next phase, in which we will sever our activities in Russia so that they are in a position to operate independently of Heineken, in preparation for the handover to a new owner.’

In its annual report for 2022, published last week, Heineken said it intended to reach an agreement to transfer the business to a new owner in the first half of this year. The company added: ‘We will not profit from any sale or transfer of ownership’.

Heineken’s assets in Russia were valued at €255 million at the end of last year, though the company has quoted an impairment loss, or reduction in market value, of €88 million in its accounts.

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