British American Tobacco says it is exiting its Russian business.
British American Tobacco said on Friday it was exiting its Russian business, just two days after it said it planned to continue operations but end capital investments.
The company, whose products include Lucky Strike, Pall Mall and Dunhill cigarettes, said it had begun a process to “to rapidly transfer” its Russian business. It said it would continue to pay its 2,500 employees in the country for now, but once the transfer was complete, it would “no longer have a presence in Russia,” it said.
“We have concluded that BAT’s ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable in the current environment,” British American Tobacco, which is based in London, said in a statement on Friday.
The decision follows a slew of announcements by American and European companies, including banks, retailers and fast food restaurants, that they will suspend or end their operations in Russia in response to the war in Ukraine and the economic sanctions imposed by the West. Companies that initially intended to continue their business in Russia have faced increasing public pressure, which has led to some U-turns, including by the parent company of the Japanese clothes retailer Uniqlo.
British American Tobacco had said on Wednesday that it had suspended all operations and manufacturing in Ukraine, where it employs more than 1,000 people, and that operations in Russia were continuing but planned capital investments had been suspended.
The company moved into Russia, where its head office is in Moscow and its manufacturing facility is in St. Petersburg, in 1991. Last year, Ukraine and Russia accounted for 3 percent of the company’s revenue.
Philip Morris International, the American tobacco company that makes Marlboros, said on Wednesday it was suspending its planned investments in Russia, including product launches and manufacturing investments and that it would scale back manufacturing because of supply chain disruptions and changing regulations. The company has 3,200 employees in the country, which accounts for about 6 percent of revenue.
The same day, Imperial Brands of Britain said it had suspended all of its operations in Russia, including stopping production at its factory in Volgograd. It said it would continue to pay employees.