Heineken has finally managed to sell its Russian branch. The Dutch beer giant sold all the shares of its Russian operations to the Arnest Group for 1 euro, incurring a total cumulative loss of €300 million. “We have now completed our exit from Russia,” Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said on Friday.
Heineken announced it was leaving Russia shortly after the country invaded Ukraine in February 2022. However, the beer giant then faced severe criticism for launching many new products on the Russian market in the year after announcing its departure. According to Heineken, it needed to keep the company attractive to potential buyers. In April 2023, the brewer announced it had found a buyer and was waiting for the Russian authorities to approve the sale. That approval has now come.
According to Heineken, Arnest Group has taken over all assets, including seven breweries in Russia. It also took responsibility for the 1,800 Heineken employees in the country, “providing employment guarantees for the next three years.”
“Recent developments demonstrate the significant challenges faced by large manufacturing companies in exiting Russia,” Van den Brink said. “While it took much longer than we had hoped, this transaction secures the livelihoods of our employees and allows us to exit the company in a responsible manner.”
The Heineken brand was pulled from the Russian market in 2022. Amstel will be phased out in the next six months. Heineken said it would license no other international brands in Russia, but it did issue a three-year license for some “smaller regional brands.” According to the company, that was required to ensure business continuity and approval of the sale. “Heineken will provide no brand support and will receive no proceeds, royalties, or fees from Russia,” the company said.