Dutch brewing giant Heineken has officially concluded its withdrawal from Russia by selling its operations to the Arnest Group, the largest Russian manufacturer of cosmetics, household goods, and metal packaging. The move comes after the company pledged to quit the Russian market last year but faced criticism for reportedly continuing sales earlier this year.
Acknowledging the challenges of its exit strategy, Heineken issued an apology in March for creating ambiguity regarding its commitment to leaving Russia. The company had expressed its intention to secure jobs for its Russian employees while struggling to find a buyer for its Russian business.
In an official statement released on Friday, Heineken confirmed that the sale had received all necessary approvals, finalizing the process initiated in March 2022 to exit Russia. However, the exit is expected to result in a total cumulative loss of 300 million euros ($320 million).
The transition involves the transfer of all remaining assets, including seven breweries in Russia, to the Arnest Group. Heineken also highlighted that the Arnest Group has provided a three-year employment guarantee for the 1,800 Heineken employees in Russia.
As part of the exit strategy, the Heineken brand, which was removed from Russia in 2022, will be accompanied by the phased-out production of Amstel within six months. The company clarified that no other international brands would be licensed in Russia.
Heineken’s Chief Executive Officer, Dolf van den Brink, remarked on the achievement: “We have now completed our exit from Russia. Recent developments demonstrate the significant challenges faced by large manufacturing companies in exiting Russia. 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.” This move marks the company’s commitment to its exit strategy while ensuring employee welfare during the transition.