Danone should withdraw from most of its activities in Russia

Better late than never ? French agribusiness giant Danone announced Friday, October 14 that it plans to divest from its unit “dairy and plant-based products” in Russia, which constitutes the major part of its activity in the country, eventually retaining only its infant nutrition branch.

“Danone today announces its decision to initiate the process of transferring control of its Essential Dairy and Plant-based (EDP) business in Russia”said the group, one of the few multinationals to have remained in Russia since the start of the war in Ukraine in February.

8,000 Danone employees in Russia

The group has not announced who could eventually resume its Russian factories and activities, in this branch of dairy and plant products, or when exactly. The transaction will be subject to the approval of the competent authorities, the group said. Danone will however retain the activities of its branch “specialized nutrition”, which produces in particular infant milk (Blédina, Aptamil).

The French group, which in July mentioned operational conditions “extremely tense in Russia and Ukraine”considers it to be the “best option to ensure continuity” of this activity with its employees and its consumers.

Since January 2022, EDP activity in Russia “represented approximately 5% of Danone’s consolidated sales”. The operation could “result in a depreciation of up to 1 billion euros”, in its accounts, according to the group. In March, Danone announced the maintenance of its activities in Russia, where it employs 8,000 people, while suspending its investments in the country.

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