14 Feb 2024 16:38

Only 20% of western companies left Russia, some continue to invest - dep PM

MOSCOW. Feb 14 (Interfax) - Only 20% of large European and American companies have left the Russian market, while the rest have kept their business in Russia and some of them are increasing investments, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said, adding that many of those that have left have buyback options.

"I don't think everyone knows these figures, I recently made a note of them at a meeting with foreign companies. Only 100 of the 500 companies from various countries of Europe - I do not include those with turnover of less than 500 million rubles per year - have officially left so far. This is 20%. I will not name them, but most of them have options - the president has limited them to two years, but there are options," he said during a plenary session at the Russia Exhibition's Industry Day.

Manturov said there were similar figures for American companies. "Regarding companies, especially big ones, from the United States, there were 350 of them and 66 companies or, again 19% of slightly more, have left, and also with options," he said.

"This suggests that our market is of interest and our potential is also of interest," Manturov said. He said one advantage of the Russian market was the higher availability of energy resources relative to the Western market.

He said many companies remaining in Russia "continue to increase their investments, thus creating skills for our country, our economy." "This applies to both friendly and unfriendly countries," he said.

Manturov told reporters that the buyback options were capped for two years in 2023 and many of them would lapse in 2025. Around half the companies that pulled out of Russia signed options.

Deals for Western companies to the Russian market are unlikely to take place publicly, but departed brands will begin to reappear in Russia, so the process will be noticeable, Manturov sad.

Such deals should not be expected in the automotive industry in the near future, he said. "If, say, Volvo left, or Mercedes, then they automatically took the brand. And if they return as owners, then they can use their brand. But I seriously doubt it from the point of view of feasibility for the auto industry: we ourselves wouldn't really want this in the near future," he said.