Russia: Beam Suntory to exit Russia

Beam Suntory, the world’s third largest premium spirits company, along with Edrington, a privately owned international spirits company based in Glasgow, Scotland, have reached an agreement to sell their joint business venture, Maxxium Russia, to the local management team. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

Maxxium Russia is a distributor of spirits including whiskey, cognac, tequila, rum and gin, and a subdivision of the alliance of Beam Suntory and Edrington. After the swap of equity stakes in their distributions firms in the UK and Spain last year, Maxxium Russia was Beam Suntory and Edrington’s last jointly-owned distribution business. In January 2020, Suntory acquired a 10% stake in Edrington for an undisclosed sum.

As a reason for the sale, the two companies stated that “after suspending shipments to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in early March, we began reviewing approaches to the future of the Russia business. We determined that the best way to exit the market was through a sale of the Russia joint venture to the local management team, and we wish our respected former colleagues the best with the future direction of the company.”

“Shipments from Beam Suntory will remain suspended,” Beam Suntory added, “as we continue to abide by all applicable laws including international sanctions.”

Beam Suntory seamlessly joins the ranks of international beverage companies closing or selling their Russian operations as a result of Russia's attack on Ukraine and the sanctions imposed by Western countries. Besides brewing groups like Carlsberg, Heineken and AB InBev, also leading spirits companies like Diageo, Pernod Ricard, and Brown-Foreman have suspended sales and/or announced to totally withdraw from the market.

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