Russia/Turkey: AB Inbev deal with Efes threatened by US sanctions

AB InBev’s plan to sell all its interests in Russia to its Turkish joint-venture partner Efes might not work out after the United States warned Turkey’s largest business group of possible sanctions risks if its companies continue to do business with Russia.

US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo sent last week a letter to the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TUSIAD) and its 45,000 members warning them of negative consequences including sanctions, in case they “establish relations with sanctioned Russian entities and individuals.”Adeyemo also told Turkish Deputy Finance Minister Yunus Elitas that Russian entities and individuals were attempting to use Turkey to bypass Western sanctions imposed over Russian's war in Ukraine.

NATO member Turkey has so far opposed Western sanctions on Russia and has ramped up trade and tourism with Russia even as it opposes the invasion.

AB InBev has put itself in an awkward position with its hesitant stance on the Ukraine war.

At first the company took refuge behind the argument that they had no influence on the Russian business because they had no controlling stake in the joint venture with Efes in Russia. (, 11.4.2022)

After two months, when the public pressure got too much (, 19.4.2022), AB InBev finally announced "that it will sell its non-controlling interest in the AB InBev Efes joint venture and is in active discussions with its partner, Turkish Brewer Anadolu Efes, to acquire this interest." (, 22.4.2022)

However, last week, the news that AB InBev now wants to start licensed production of its own brands such as Leffe or Spaten in Russia attracted again a great deal of negative attention. (, 20.8.2022)

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