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Carlsberg sells its Russian business

Danish brewing giant Carlsberg Group announced last week that it has signed an agreement to sell its business in Russia, subject to regulatory approval.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Carlsberg, like many drinks companies, pledged to exit Russia. Despite an initial aim to be out of the country by the end of last year, the process of separating operations in Russia from the rest of its business has proven to be a challenge.

A press release from the company noted that 150 work streams and DKK150 million (£17.3m) in brewery equipment investments had to be considered.

Group CEO Cees ’t Hart said: “The signing of an agreement to sell the Russian business is a very important milestone in the highly complex separation and selling process. While it has been an extensive process, it has been important for us to reach the best possible solution for all stakeholders, including our more than 8,000 employees in Russia. We now look forward to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals.”

Carlsberg must file applications for approval via the Russian Government Commission.

The statement suggested that the sale would not impact Carlsberg Group’s earnings expectations for 2023.

But, according to earlier statements from ‘t Hart, Carlsberg may return to Russia at some point in the future.

“It’s the dream scenario if there comes an era when we can come back again,” the CEO remarked.

He also previously suggested that he was open the inclusion of the “buy-back clause” in the contract with a buyer.

Last summer Carlsberg reported that, after a few months hiatus after the invasion of Ukraine, it was able to resume operations within Ukraine at its Kyiv, Zaporizhzhia and Lviv breweries.

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