May 20 (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp franchisees in
Russia will have the option of working under a new brand that
will launch imminently, the TASS news agency quoted Oleg Paroev,
McDonald's Russia's general director, as saying on Friday.
"There will be a new brand and we will offer our current
franchisees to join the new system on new commercial terms, to
which they can either agree or refuse," Paroev said. "It is in
everyone's interests to launch the new brand as soon as
"The brand itself, under which (they) work, will have to
change. They won't be able to work under McDonald's," Paroev
said. "The rights to the brand are held by the corporation, they
were given to us for use on Russian territory, which McDonald's
Russia has been 'subletting' to franchisees."
The fast-food company is selling its restaurants in Russia
to one of its local licensees, who will rebrand them under a new
name, ending more than three decades of the "Golden Arches" in
the country. McDonald's said it will retain its trademarks.
The McDonald's restaurants in Russia will be sold to
Alexander Govor, who runs a franchise operation of 25
restaurants through his firm GiD LLC.
Paroev did not say what might happen to franchisees that did
not adopt the new brand, but his comments suggested that the
other major McDonald's franchisee in Russia, Rosinter
Restaurants, may have to rename its restaurants, cease
operations, or come up with an alternative plan.
Rosinter declined to comment.
Some other exiting companies appear to have left the door
open for a return. French carmaker Renault is to sell
its majority stake in carmaker Avtovaz to a Russian
science institute, reportedly for just one rouble, but will
retain a six-year option to buy it back.
Paroev said any return for McDonald's was a long way off,
but did not rule it out.
"It is in everyone's interests that McDonald's some day
returns to Russia," he said.
McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski signed off a letter to
staff on Monday about the departure from Russia with the words
"Until we meet again."
McDonald's declined to comment.
(Reporting by Reuters
Editing by Mark Potter)