Dutch brewer Heineken sells its Russian operations for 1 euro, taking a 300-million-euro hit

FILE - Bottles of Heineken beer are photographed in Washington, USA, March 30, 2018. Dutch brewer Heineken has completed its withdrawal from Russia, 18 months after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, selling its business in Russia for just 1 euro, the company announced Friday, Aug. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/J. David Ake, FILE) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Dutch brewer Heineken has completed its withdrawal from Russia, 18 months after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, selling its business in Russia for just 1 euro, the company announced Friday.

Heineken said it would incur a total loss of 300 million euros ($325 million) for the sale to Russian manufacturing giant the Arnest Group.

Heineken had faced criticism for the slow pace of its exit in the wake of the outbreak of war, but insisted it was seeking to look after its local employees in Russia.

In March last year, Heineken had said it was quitting Russia as its business there was “no longer sustainable nor viable in the current environment," but added that it wanted to ensure an “orderly transfer” to a new owner.

“While it took much longer than we had hoped, this transaction secures the livelihoods of our employees and allows us to exit the country in a responsible manner,” Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink said in a statement.

The sale covers all of Heineken's assets in Russia, including seven breweries. The company said that Arnest has guaranteed the employment of Heineken's 1,800 local staff for three years.

Heineken brand beer was removed from the Russian market last year. One of its other major brands, Amstel, will be phased out within 6 months, the company said.