LONDON, June 28 (Reuters) - Diageo, the world's
largest spirits maker, will wind down its business operations in
Russia over the next six months, it said on Tuesday, becoming
the latest Western brand to withdraw.
"Our focus will remain on supporting our employees in the
region and providing them with enhanced redundancy terms, while
ensuring we comply with local regulations," a Diageo
spokesperson said in a statement.
Foreign companies seeking to exit Russia over the war in
Ukraine face the prospect of a law being passed in the coming
weeks to allow Moscow to seize assets and impose criminal
penalties. That has encouraged some businesses to accelerate
Nike and Cisco announced plans to leave
Michelin plans to hand over its Russian activities
to a new entity under local management by the end of the year,
it said on Tuesday, becoming the first Western tyre-maker to
withdraw from business in Russia.
However, Diageo, which stopped shipping to and selling goods
in Russia in March, will retain a business licence there that
requires a number of employees to remain, a source said familiar
with the matter said on condition of anonymity.
Once the process of winding down is complete, Diageo will
have fewer than 10 employees in Russia, the source said.
Stocks of non-Russian alcohol have started to dwindle in
Russia, hampered by sales suspensions by major Western firms and
supply disruptions, leaving Russian consumers with less choice
and higher prices.
In early March, the leading Western brewer in the country
Carlsberg, as well as Anheuser-Busch InBev
and Heineken, suspended sales in Russia. They have
since said they will sell their Russian businesses.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Matt Scuffham and Barbara