Russia takes control of the Danone and Carlsberg operations

  • By Annabelle Liang
  • Business reporter

Russia has taken control of the Russian subsidiaries of yogurt producer Danone and beer company Carlsberg.

The units have been placed under “temporary management” by the state, under a new order signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Earlier this year, Moscow introduced rules allowing it to seize the assets of firms from “unfriendly” countries.

This came after many companies stopped operations in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Danone and Carlsberg were in the process of selling their Russian operations.

Sunday’s order places the shares of Danone Russia and the Carlsberg-owned Baltika Breweries under the control of the Russian real estate agency Rosimushchestvo.

France-based Danone, which began the process of selling its Russian operations last October, said it was “currently investigating the situation”.

The firm added that it is “preparing to take all necessary measures to protect its rights as a shareholder in Danone Russia, and the continuity of the business’s operations”.

The Danish brewer also said it had completed a “comprehensive process” to separate the Russian unit from the rest of the company. Last month, the company signed an agreement to sell Baltika Breweries, but had not yet completed the deal.

“Following the presidential decree, the outlook for this sale process is now very uncertain,” it added.

In April, Putin signed an order allowing Russia to take temporary control of foreign assets, in response to actions by the United States and other countries that Russia said were “unfriendly and contrary to international law”.

Also in April, it was announced that the Russian units of two energy companies – Germany’s Uniper and Fortum in Finland – had been brought under state control.

Danone’s Russia operations are the country’s largest dairy company, with around 8,000 employees.

It was estimated that the sale of the business would result in a €1bn ($1.1bn; £860m) hit for Danone.

Meanwhile, Carlsberg subsidiary Baltika produces some of the most recognizable beer brands in Russia, with 8,400 employees across eight factories, according to Carlsberg’s website.

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