Brewer Heineken still plans to exit Russia and sell its business there at a loss this year, it said on Wednesday, after a Dutch media report questioned whether it had followed through on its March 2022 promise to leave the country.
The story by investigative website Follow The Money reported that Heineken is still operating in Russia, including by selling its non-Heineken international brands such as Amstel beer, and by launching new products.
Seeking A 'Viable Buyer'
'We’re working hard to transfer our business to a viable buyer in very challenging circumstances and at significant financial loss to the company,' Heineken said in a statement.
It said it expects a €300 million impairment on the business when it is sold, likely in the first half of 2023.
'In the meantime, our local colleagues are doing what they can to keep the business going to avoid nationalisation and to ensure their livelihoods are not at risk,' Heineken said.
'There is no exchange of funds between Heineken and our local business in Russia, and we do not receive any dividends or royalties.'
Earlier this month, Heineken repeated its forecast of a profit increase this year despite weakness in Europe, as it reported a higher-than-expected 2022 profit on the back of a recovery in beer drinking to pre-pandemic levels.
The Dutch-based company whose brands include Tiger and Sol, said operating profit would grow but at a slower mid- to high-single-digit percentage rate in 2023, reflecting continued cost savings, a challenging economy and lower consumer confidence in some markets.