The value of transactions of 300 companies that have left the Russian market may reach $25 billion – KSE Institute research

18 December 2023

Of the more than 1,500 foreign companies that own or have owned assets in Russia, only 304 have finalized their exit. The potential value of the 300 companies’ deals could reach $25 billion. However, even these amounts are far from market prices.

These are the conclusions reached by KSE Institute experts in the SelfSanctions/LeaveRussia project and in a recent study, Analysis of Foreign Business Exit from Russia.

In addition to those who have completed transactions, another 320 companies are trying to leave Russia by publicly announcing their intentions or suspending operations. The largest companies that have fully withdrawn generated $82 billion in revenue, while those in the process of leaving generated $65 billion. 

According to the Kyiv School of Economics, the estimated cost of the exits ranges from $16.7 billion to $21 billion. Moreover, given the undisclosed deals, it could potentially approach $25 billion (which suggests sales at a substantial discount).

However, this only reinforces the thesis that prices do not correspond to market prices. For example, a number of companies (Heineken, Nissan, OBI Group, Renault, Tetra Pak) were sold for €1. At the same time, others, such as Carlsberg Group and Danone, were effectively nationalized by the Russian authorities. 

Among the largest deals were the sale of the Russian classifieds business Avito ($2.4 billion), which was owned by the Dutch investment group Prosus, and the sale of Eni’s stake (40% or $1.8 billion) in Rosneft’s Arctic gas project.

Of the 386 legal entities owned by nearly three hundred Western companies, 25% were purchased by individuals, and almost half by local top management. Most of the buyers (94%) were from Russia, while others were from China, Turkey, and the UAE.

It is noteworthy that some companies sent $3.6 billion worth of goods to Russia immediately before the exit and $0.4 billion after it. Indirect supplies amounted to $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively. In particular, we are talking about L’Occitane, a French cosmetics manufacturer that continued to trade through intermediaries after its withdrawal. 

A number of others, despite their promises and assurances, are also in no hurry or have not been in a hurry to completely cut ties with Russia: Technip Energies (continues to make a significant contribution to the Arctic LNG-2 project related to liquefied natural gas production), Baker Hughes (shipped oil and gas drilling equipment to Russia after the announcement of its withdrawal), etc. 

As of December 17, 2023, the total count of international companies that have completely halted their operations in Russia stands at 304. This represents 8.3% of the total entries in the KSE database and 23.6% of firms that generated revenue in Russia in 2022. Additionally, 1232 companies (33.7% of the total) have scaled back operations and announced plans to exit the Russian market.

Conversely, 1,573 companies (43% of those monitored by the KSE Institute) have not yet decided to leave the Russian market, continuing their operations as usual. Another 547 companies (15% of the total) have paused new investments, adopting a wait-and-see approach.”