Dutch brewing group Heineken has completed the sale of its operations in Russia and will leave the country for good. The Russian Arnest Group will take over all shares, including seven breweries, for a symbolic price of one euro, the company said. Heineken expects a loss of around 300 million euros. All around 1800 employees are to keep their jobs.
After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and Western sanctions, many Western companies have withdrawn from Russia. Heineken also started doing this in March 2022. Beers under the brand were no longer sold.
However, the brewer came under criticism because other activities continued and new beer brands came onto the market. The company then admitted errors in communication. The withdrawal from Russia took longer than expected, said Heineken boss Dolf van den Brink. "Although it has taken much longer than we had hoped, this transaction will ensure the livelihoods of our employees and allow us to exit the country in a responsible manner." The sale and production of the Amstel beer brand will be discontinued in the next six months.
The Arnest Group produces packaging materials, cosmetics and household goods. According to Heineken, a job guarantee for the approximately 1,800 employees was agreed for the next three years. Heineken also emphasized that the beer will not become more expensive. Expected losses have already been largely written off.