Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed an order placing the shares of Carlsberg’s Baltika Breweries and Danone Russia, the country’s largest dairy company, under the control of Russia’s Federal Agency for State Property Management. (Last April, Russia put rules in place that allows it to seize the assets of firms from countries it deems “unfriendly.”)
“With the signing of the presidential decree on 16 July 2023, Carlsberg Group no longer retains control of the management or operations of Baltika Breweries. The change to the management of Baltika Breweries has consequently been made without the knowledge or approval by Carlsberg Group,” a Carlsberg spokesman said.
A statement released by company explained that Carlsberg would “assess the legal and operational consequences of this development and take all necessary actions in response.” The company added the previously planned sales process for the full disposal of its business in Russia is now “highly uncertain,” even though the company had signed an agreement in June to sell Baltika Breweries. The transaction had not been completed at the time of the takeover.
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In a press release, Danone stated, it is “currently investigating the situation” and “preparing to take all necessary measures to protect its rights as shareholder of Danone Russia, and the continuity of the operations of the business in the interest of all stakeholders, in particular its employees.” In October 2022, Danone stated it was willing to relinquish the control of its dairy food business in Russia, despite the fact such a move would have resulted in more than a $1 billion write-off for the company.
According to Russia’s state news agency Tass, Yakub Zakriev, Chechnya’s deputy prime minister, has been named to head Danone’s Russian business, while Russian businessman Taimuraz Bolloev will be leading Baltika Breweries.