These companies continue to do business in Russia

The list of companies continuing to operate in Russia is shrinking by the minutebut dozens of corporations including multinational manufacturers and hotel chains are still doing business in the country despite intense public pressure to withdraw over its invasion of Ukraine.

McDonald’s was among the big-name companies to announce on March 8 that it would temporarily close its 850 restaurants in Russia. Cola-Cola and PepsiCo quickly followed suit, as did restaurant chain Papa John’s and others the next day. Still, more than 30 large companies “remain in Russia with significant exposure,” according to a running tally updated daily by Yale University management professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld.

Large businesses choosing to maintain their presence in Russia include Japanese apparel chain Uniqlo. The CEO of its retail holding company owner, Fast Retailing, vowed to keep the brand’s 50 retail stores across Russia open, calling “clothing a necessity of life,” according to a March 8 report by Nikkei Asia.

The list also includes Illinois-based Abbott Labs. Among companies condemning the war, Abbott on March 4 said it would donate $ 2 million to humanitarian groups offering relief in Ukraine. The multinational medical devices and health care company did not mention Russia or its operations in the country in its statement.

Also on Sonnenfeld’s list is Tokyo-based tire and rubber-products producer Bridgestone Tire. It runs manufacturing plants in Russia, but the extent of its business in the country is unclear.

US agricultural trading giant Cargill derives $ 1.1 of revenue from Russia, where it employs 2,500. “The events unfolding in Ukraine are heartbreaking,” it tweeted on February 27. “It’s hard to comprehend the challenges our employees, customers and their families in the region face in the days and weeks ahead. Our first priority is their safety and for that reason we have closed some locations. “

Russia generates 8% of revenue for Caterpillar, or approximately $ 4 billion, according to Sonnenfeld. The Peoria, Illinois-based maker of construction and mining equipment opened its first office in Russia in 1973, and now also operates a parts distribution facility in Moscow and a manufacturing plant in Tosno, near Saint Petersburg.

Banking giant Citigroup has $ 9.8 billion in domestic and cross-border exposure to Russia, according to a regulatory filing on February 28. “Citi continues to monitor the current Russia-Ukraine geopolitical situation and economic conditions and will mitigate its exposures and risks as appropriate.” New York-based Citi said it provides institutional and consumer banking services in Russia, but was working to exit the latter.

Multilevel marketing company Herbalife Nutrition obtains 2.7% of its revenue from Russia and Ukraine.

Hotel chain Hyatt on March 9 said it was suspending development activities and new investments in Russia and will “continue to evaluate hotel operations in Russia.” Hyatt in a March 4 statement said it was “heartbroken over the devastation” in Ukraine and had started a relief fund for colleagues in the region in need of necessities and relocation help. The company operates six locations in Russia, according to Sonnenfeld.

Offering similar words, Marriott on March 8 updated its statement expressing concern over the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and neighboring countries, saying it’s working with charitable organizations to help. The international chain has at least 10 locations in Russia.

The list of outliers is being shared on social media, prompting calls to boycott Hyatt and others on it.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the intersection of risk, reputation and revenue,” Paul Washington, executive director of the ESG Center at The Conference Board, said in a report. “For many companies, the decision to suspend ties may be a relatively easy one. Given the size of the Russian economy, little revenue may be involved. And the reputational harm of continuing business – and the benefit of announcing a withdrawal – may be significant . “

Crypto’s unified front?

Some cryptocurrency companies are also resisting pressure to close Russian accounts, despite a February 27 appeal from Ukraine’s vice prime minister “asking all major crypto exchanges to block addresses of Russian users.”

Kraken CEO Jesse Power replied, saying that “despite his deep respect for the Ukrainian people,” his company could not freeze the accounts of Russian clients unless it was legally required to do so.

The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, Binance, is blocking the accounts of Russians on western economic sanction lists, but not Russians at large. “We are not going to unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts,” CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote in a March 4 blog post.

Coinbase CEO Brain Armstrong on March 4 tweeted that “ordinary Russians are using crypto as a lifeline.” Still, the company would comply with any bans imposed by the US government, he added.

Coinbase’s stance aligns with those taken by other crypto exchanges including Kraken, KuCoin and Coinberry.

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