Tobacco giant and car dealership chain become latest UK firms to quit Russia

Imperial Brands and Inchcape have both announced they intend to leave Russia due to the conflict in Ukraine.

15 March 2022

Two more British-based businesses have said they will pull out of Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Cigarette maker Imperial Brands said negotiations are under way to sell its Russian assets to an unnamed local third party.

And car dealership business Inchcape said it would leave Russia due to the war.

Imperial, which makes West, Winston and Rizlas, said its 1,000 employees in Russia will continue to be paid until the transfer is complete.

The company, which has staff in sales, marketing and a factory in Volgograd, had already stopped operations in Ukraine.

Both countries generate sales of around £656 million for Imperial – or 2% of revenues – and the move comes after Imperial said it would halt operations in Russia earlier this month as the conflict in Ukraine started.

Imperial said: “We believe that, in the current circumstances, an orderly transfer of our business as a going concern would be in the best interests of our Russian colleagues.”

It added: “Meanwhile, we are also supporting our Ukrainian colleagues and their families, including with transport and accommodation to enable them to escape the areas most severely hit by conflict, as well as resettlement assistance for those who have left Ukraine.”

Inchcape said it too would leave Russia, which contributed £750 million to its global sales.

The company said it is “deeply saddened” by the conflict in Ukraine.

It added: “In light of the current circumstances, we have concluded that the group’s ownership of its business interests in Russia is no longer tenable.”

Bosses will work with local partners to offload the business “with the aim of safeguarding the continuing employment of our colleagues”.

Inchcape added it will assist with humanitarian efforts to help transport refugees from the borders to safe havens in other countries where it operates.

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