Cadbury owner under pressure to join western exodus from Russia Business

Chocolate bar maker Cadbury Dairy Milk and clothing chain Uniqlo are among companies still operating in Russia despite international calls to boycott the invasion of Ukraine.

Mondelez, which owns the Cadbury, Alpen, Oreos and TUC cookie brands, makes about $1 billion in sales a year in the country and has refused to answer calls to end it.

The company has owned Cadbury since 2010, when its predecessor Kraft Foods bought the brand in a deal worth £11.5billion.

Japanese company Uniqlo has separately defended its decision to keep its 49 stores in Russia open, arguing that the clothes are a “necessity of life”.

Tadashi Yanai, managing director of Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, said: “Russian people have the same right to life as we do.

Imperial Brands became the first major tobacco company to join the exodus on Wednesday, saying it had “suspended all operations in Russia”, including sales and production at a factory in Volgograd, formerly known as the name of Stalingrad, in the southwest.

In a statement, the company added: “This decision comes in a very difficult environment in Russia due to international sanctions and the resulting severe disruption.

“We have already suspended our operations in Ukraine in order to prioritize the safety and well-being of our 600 employees in this country.”

The company said it would continue to pay Russian staff.

The main food manufacturers that continue to operate in Russia are Nestlé, Mars, Unilever and Kraft Heinz.

Meanwhile, Whirlpool, Citi, hotel suppliers Hilton and Intercontinental Hotels and pizza chain Papa John’s, are also among those still in business.

But they face growing pressure from Western politicians and some investors to pull out.

Thomas DiNapoli, director of the New York state pension fund, said companies still operating there “need to consider whether doing business in Russia is worth the risk during this extraordinarily volatile time.”

Bill Browder, the British financier who once described himself as Vladimir Putin’s “enemy number one”, has also called on companies to boycott Russia.

“They must withdraw as soon as possible. Otherwise, they should be boycotted in the West. Profiteering on national security is unacceptable,” he tweeted.

Many major global corporations have already capitulated to public pressure. McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and Starbucks are all closing operations in Russia following calls to do so.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-09 11:34:10

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