PARIS, March 23 (Reuters) – French food group Danone said on Wednesday it would continue local production in Russia of essential dairy and infant nutrition products, but had cut other ties with the country over the war in Ukraine.
The company said it has ended other imports and exports into Russia, as well as all investments, including advertising and consumer promotions, and will not take any cash, dividends or profits from its business in the country. .
So rival Nestle said on Wednesday it would stop sales in Russia of several non-essential products, including KitKat and Nesquik brands, as Western companies face government pressure to avoid Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
Danone said it has condemned the war, which Russia calls a “special military operation,” from the start, without ambiguity.
He said that supporting the Russian people and their workers does not significantly support Moscow’s actions and that his priority will always be the safety of his Ukrainian colleagues.
“We also have a duty of care to our 8,000 colleagues in Russia, to Russian citizens, to ordinary people, who trust us for infant nutrition, medical nutrition, dairy products, essential foods,” Danone said.
The company said it does not expect to make a profit in Russia, or pay taxes on it, in the foreseeable future, adding that if it makes any profit there during the war, it will donate it to humanitarian aid organizations.
Danone said it made about 5% of its revenue in Russia in 2021 and less than 1% in Ukraine, where it has about 1,000 workers.
Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky told French lawmakers on Wednesday that companies from France, including retailer Auchan, would likely leave the Russian market.
Auchan, which has 30,000 workers in Russia, declined to comment.
(Reporting by Geert de Clercq and Tassilo Hummel; edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia)