Shortly after Russia started invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Carlsberg announced “to seek a full disposal of [the] business in Russia”. (inside.beer, 28.3.2022)
However, nearly one year later, Carlsberg has still not executed the sale. In an interview today, Cees ‘t Hart, Chief Executive of Carlsberg, told the Financial Times that the “reverse integration”, the process of disentangling the Russian operations from the rest of Carlsberg, had proved more complex than he had assumed. Still, he hopes to conclude a sales agreement by the end of June.
Carlsberg will be leaving Russia “full stop”, ‘t Hart said, but did not reveal the names of potential buyers.
“It’s a bit of a catch-22. If we took out the international brands, it can’t be sold. Then it would be nationalized. But if we do the licensing, we might have some criticism from the outside world,” ‘t Hart added.
In any case, the Carlsberg boss wants to include a buyback clause “if, if, if Russia is a different country in 10 or 20 years.” ‘t Hart said. He also stressed the fact that he needs “to look at the far future” to make sure “that in 10, 20, 30 years the successor of the successor of the successor also has different options.”