RUSSIA – Heineken has announced it has found a buyer for its Russian business and is awaiting approval by the country’s authorities to approve the sale.

The company recently received a push to leave Russia, just like other foreign companies. Dutch investigative website Follow the Money has accused the Amsterdam-based brewer of “breaking a promise” to leave Russia over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The media report revealed that Heineken is still selling its non-Heineken International brands, such as Amstel, and launching new products.

The company said: “If and when we have approval, we will share further details about the buyer and agreement. We continue to make progress to transfer the ownership of our business in Russia and an application has been submitted for approval to the authorities in the Russian Federation in line with local regulatory requirements.”

Heineken recently revealed how it had been working hard to unload its Russian business and is prepared to take a “significant financial loss” of 300-million-euro loss when its Russian business is eventually transferred to the buyer.

“In the meantime, our local colleagues are doing what they can to keep the business going to avoid nationalization and to ensure their livelihoods are not at risk. There is no exchange of funds between Heineken and our local business in Russia, and we do not receive any dividends or royalties,” Heineken said.

Despite its challenges with Russia, Heineken recently reported a higher-than-anticipated profit in 2022 and forecasts a further profit increase for 2023. The brewer revealed operating profit grew 24.0%, organically driven by the volume recovery in Asia Pacific and Europe.

Revenue for the full-year 2022 was €34,676 million (2021: 26,583 million). Net revenue increased by 21.2% organically, with total consolidated volume growing by 6.4% and net revenue per hectolitre up 13.9%.

Meanwhile, the Danish multinational brewer, Carlsberg, also postponed its departure until “mid-2023” from the initial end of 2022.

“It is a more difficult sales process than we had anticipated,” Carlsberg CEO Cees ‘t Hart has admitted.

He added that Carlsberg was not ruling out returning to Russia in the future and was keen on including a “buy-back clause” into any contract with a potential buyer, which would allow Carlsberg to repurchase the Russian assets at a later stage.

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