Brewing giant Heineken has completed its exit from Russia, around 18 months after the invasion of Ukraine.
The Dutch firm, which also makes Amstel and Birra Moretti beers, said it has now secured the sale of the business, which includes seven breweries, to Russian company Arnest Group for 1 euro.
It said it expects to incur a total loss of 300 million euro (£256 million) as a result.
Bosses at the brewer admitted it “took much longer than we had hoped”, after it faced criticism for the slow pace of its exit in the wake of the outbreak of war.
Heineken had insisted it was seeking to look after its local employees in Russia.
Russia invaded on 24 February 2022, 547 days ago.
In March last year, it said it was quitting Russia as the business there was “no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment”, but added it wanted to ensure an “orderly transfer” to a new owner.
Dolf van den Brink, Heineken’s chief executive and chairman, said: “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.”
Heineken said new owner Arnest has guaranteed the employment of Heineken’s 1,800 local staff for three years.
PA – Henry Saker-Clark