Status: 4/4/2022 1:29 PM
Despite the criticism, the Henkel consumer goods group wants to continue producing in Russia and selling its products there. The manufacturer of the Persil detergent brand fears being expropriated by the Kremlin.
Despite the ongoing war and alleged serious war crimes committed by the Russian military in Ukraine, Henkel sticks to its business in Russia. This was confirmed by CEO Carsten Knobel at today’s general meeting. However, he also said: “Our position is clear: we are constantly implementing all international sanctions against Russia. And we are doing even more. We immediately stopped all advertising. We ended all sponsorship activities. And we stopped all planned investments in Russia.” .
For weeks, the DAX group has been criticized, as one of the few large international corporations, it does not want to withdraw from Russia. Knobel justified this today with the fact that in Russia one mainly manufactures and sells everyday items such as cleaning and hygiene products. “And of course we also have a responsibility to our 2,500 employees in Russia. Stopping our Russian business can have far-reaching consequences. Also for our employees on site,” the CEO said.
The group does not rule out taking more steps
Consequently, the group fears the expropriation of foreign companies by the Russian government. Also, local managers are at risk if they stop doing business locally, says Knobel. These aspects must be taken into account when making a decision. But: “We do not rule out further steps.”
Henkel has been active in Russia for 30 years and has invested in the country like hardly any other DAX company. The manufacturer of well-known brands such as Persil and Pritt employs a total of 2,500 people at eleven plants and thus generates around five percent of its sales. By 2022, the manufacturer recently expected organic group sales growth of between two and four percent. The adjusted return on sales must be between 11.5 and 13.5 percent.
In addition to Henkel, other German companies such as Käserei Hochland and chocolate maker Ritter Sport have also decided to continue producing in Russia or supply their own products to the country. The same applies to the pharmaceutical giant Bayer, which continues to export medical and agricultural products to Russia.