Dutch brewer Heineken completes its withdrawal from Russia, takes $325m hit

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By Webdesk

The world’s second largest brewer sold its business in Russia for just 1 euro ($1.08), months after announcing its exit.

Dutch brewer Heineken has completed its withdrawal from Russia, 18 months after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, selling its business in Russia for just 1 euro ($1.08).

Heineken said on Friday it would incur a total loss of 300 million euros ($325m) for the sale to Russian manufacturing giant, the Arnest Group.

Heineken had faced criticism for the slow pace of its exit in the wake of the outbreak of war, but insisted it was seeking to look after its local employees in Russia.

In March last year, Heineken had said it was quitting Russia as its business there was “no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment”, but added that it wanted to ensure an “orderly transfer” to a new owner.

“While it took much longer than we had hoped, this transaction secures the livelihoods of our employees and allows us to exit the country in a responsible manner,” Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said in a statement.

The sale covers all of Heineken’s assets in Russia, including seven breweries. The company said that Arnest has guaranteed the employment of Heineken’s 1,800 local staff for three years.

Heineken brand beer was removed from the Russian market last year. One of its other key brands, Amstel, will be phased out within six months, the company said.

Global outlook

Last month, Heineken lowered its global earnings outlook for the full year after price hikes to counter soaring costs battered beer sales, pushing down profits in the first half.

The world’s second largest brewer had warned that price increases were needed to offset high commodity and energy costs, due in large part to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The result was an 8.6 percent slump in net profit to 1.16 billion euros ($1.28bn), as beer volumes fell 5.6 percent from the same period last year.

For the full year, it now expects a “stable to a mid single-digit” operating profit growth on a like for like basis, after an 8.8 percent drop in the first half to 1.9 billion euros ($2.09bn).

Previously, management had forecast “mid to high single-digit” growth.

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