Heineken’s headquarters has authorized the company’s Russian division to launch new products. That was necessary to find a new buyer and avoid bankruptcy, which could have meant losing hundreds of employees, the company says.
In a new statement, Heineken elaborates on the developments surrounding the company’s activities in Russia. Last month, research by Follow the Money showed that Heineken had launched all kinds of new products, while the company had promised to leave Russia a year ago.
Heineken now apologizes. The brewer says that it took time to find a buyer for Heineken Russia and that it was necessary to launch new products during that period.
The company says that the Heineken brand was immediately removed from the Russian market. But if new products hadn’t replaced it, it could have spelled the end of Heineken Russia and over 1,700 employees out of work.
In addition, there was a threat of prosecution for local managers, because it is a criminal offense to intentionally cause a company to go bankrupt.
“We recognize that we should have been clearer about the need to introduce new products sooner,” the company writes in the statement. “We realize that this has created confusion and doubt about our commitment to leave Russia. We apologize for this.”
Looking for buyer
Heineken Russia has introduced new drinks in the past year. In addition to Amstel variants, soft drinks were also involved. Coca Cola and Pepsi had disappeared from the Russian market, but drinks from Heineken Russia replaced them.
In an earlier statement, Heineken said the decisions were made by local managers in Russia, but now acknowledges that its head office has authorized the introduction of international brands.
Heineken is looking for a buyer for the Russian branch and expects to close a deal in the first half of this year. All financial ties with the Russian branch have been severed. states the company.
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