Heineken, the Dutch brewing company, has completed its exit from Russia, marking the end of an 18-month process that began after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The company sold its Russian business for a symbolic amount of 1 euro, a decision that comes with a substantial financial setback of 300 million euros ($325 million). The buyer is the Arnest Group, a prominent Russian manufacturing conglomerate.
Despite facing criticism for the gradual pace of its withdrawal during the conflict, Heineken maintained that it prioritized the welfare of its local employees in Russia. In March 2022, Heineken had initially announced its intention to leave the Russian market due to its deteriorating viability within the prevailing conditions. The company sought an organized transition to new ownership.
Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink expressed satisfaction that, although the process took longer than anticipated, the transaction ensures the well-being of the company’s employees and allows for a responsible exit from the country.
The sale encompasses all of Heineken’s assets in Russia, which comprises seven breweries. Arnest has made commitments to retain Heineken’s 1,800 local staff for a duration of three years, securing their employment.
The Heineken brand had been removed from the Russian market in the previous year. Another significant brand, Amstel, is also scheduled to be phased out within six months, according to the company’s statement.