Russian state takes control of Carlsberg and Danone

Two cans of Carlsberg
Two cans of Carlsberg Copyright AP/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Euronews with AFP
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Assets belonging to two major European companies in Russia were seized through a presidential decree signed by Vladimir Putin.


Moscow has taken over assets of the French giants Danone and Danish Carlsberg in Russia. 

The move was a fait accompli, meaning it had already been decided with their foreknowledge, leaving the European companies no choice but to accept. 

Both had previously announced they would exit the Russian market following the invasion of Ukraine. 

According to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin, 98.56% of the shares of the Russian brewery Baltika, owned by Carlsberg, were now "temporarily" under the control of the Russian state, plus tens of thousands of shares belonging to the Russian subsidiary of Danone. 

In June, Carlsberg said it had found a buyer for its activities in Russia, without naming them. This came more than a year after announcing its withdrawal from the country.

Baltika had around 8,400 employees in Russia, which Carlsberg brought in 2000. 

“Following the presidential decree, the prospects for this sale process are now highly uncertain,” Carlsberg acknowledged in a statement on Sunday.

The Danish brewer said it was not informed by the Russian authorities of the presidential decree.

On Sunday evening, Danone said it had "taken note of the decree" and was "currently studying the situation".

In mid-October 2022, the French food titan announced its intention to withdraw from most of its activities in Russia.

The group, which initially entered the Russian market to meet "essential food needs of civilian populations", said it planned to cede control of its "dairy and vegetable products" branch, retaining only that of infant nutrition.

In October, Danone said withdrawing from Russia could "lead to a depreciation of up to 1 billion euros" in its accounts. 

But on Sunday it noted Moscow's decision will have "no impact on Danone's financial objectives for the year 2023".

The move came days after French President Emmanuel Macron green-lit the delivery of long-range SCALP missiles to Ukraine, which the Kremlin called a "decision tainted with error".

Since invading Ukraine on 24 February 2022, many multinationals have left Russia and others have suspended their activities there across several sectors, including oil, automobiles and luxury goods. 

In May, Moscow had already taken "temporary" forced control of the Russian subsidiary of the Finnish energy group Fortum, with the ousting of its CEO in Russia.

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