Helsinki / FI. (fg) Fazer Group has decided to exit all its operations in Russia. Fazer has three bakeries in St Petersburg, and one in Moscow, employing approximately 2,300 people. In 2021, net sales from Russia totalled approximately EUR 157 million, accounting for 13 percent of Fazer.
«We see no other solution than to exit Russia. Russia’s attack on Ukraine is an act of aggression which has tragic consequences across the region. We have several stakeholders and severe consequences to take into consideration, which has not allowed us as fast an exit as we would have wished for. We have worked relentlessly and as fast as possible, taking possible risks and threats into consideration,» Christoph Vitzthum, President and CEO of Fazer Group comments.
The exit process will be done with due consideration to Fazer employees and local laws. «I understand that a lot of our loyal and valued customers as well as many other stakeholders have felt that Fazer should have taken this decision earlier. I can assure you that this decision was always the only alternative but due to the above-mentioned circumstances we were unable to take this decision earlier», Vitzthum concludes.
Earlier Fazer has suspended all exports of its confectionery, grain and bakery products from Finland to Russia and stopped all investments.
Fazer Group strongly condemns the war in Ukraine. Not only the society, but also businesses need to react to the current situation. Fazer has been asked what the Group is going to do about its bakery business in Russia. This is a question for which there is no easy answer. In some sectors, a quick reaction is possible, but for instance in the food sector, there are specific obligations. The Group also wishes to look at the situation from a humanitarian perspective. Bread is a staple food, and a sudden halt of production would cause major problems for the civilian population in St Petersburg and Moscow. So far, Fazer has stopped all exports to Russia and suspended its investments there. Russian bakeries operate completely locally. The Group and the local management of the company are still bound by the obligation to comply with the law and also have a responsibility towards their employees. Russia’s countersanctions and related sectoral legislation make structural and ownership changes very difficult, and Fazer Group has to look for solutions accordingly.