Carlsberg cuts Russia licences, escalating fight with government
Danish brewer Carlsberg A/S is terminating all licence agreements to sell its beer brands in Russia and said it sees no path to a negotiated exit from the country after its assets were seized by the government.
The Copenhagen-based company said it will stop allowing the Russian Baltika business to produce, market and sell Carlsberg group products.
“We refuse to be forced into a deal on unacceptable terms,” the company said, calling the takeover of its Russian business illegitimate.
Shortly after Carlsberg said it had struck a deal to sell the assets in July, Russia seized its Baltika business, transferring management to government authorities.
The brewer said there will be a “run-off” period until April 2024 during which existing stock and materials could be used up by Baltika.
Carlsberg said it will fully impair the financial value of its business in Russia.
Russia and Ukraine accounted for about 13% of group revenue and about 9% of operating profit in 2021. The company employed about 8,400 people in Russia and had already separated the operations there from the rest of the group.
Rival Heineken NV said in August it completed a deal to sell its assets and leave Russia, becoming one of the few consumer companies to successfully withdraw since Vladimir Putin’s government shifted rules to make exiting the country more difficult.