Bacardi’s Russia business up and running despite pledges to quit- WSJ
Bacardi, the largest privately-owned spirits company, continues to operate in Russia, sending in millions of dollars of booze and hiring new employees, the Wall Street Journal reported.
During the year to June 30, Bacardi Rus imported USD 169 million worth of goods, including well-known brands such as Grey Goose Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Oakheart Rum, Dewar's, Patrón, and Martini, according to Russian customs data.
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In addition, Bacardi Rus reported an 8.5 percent rise in annual revenue to RUB 30 billion, or about USD 314 million, for 2022, with profit reaching RUB 4.7 billion rubles compared to RUB 1.5 billion in 2021, per data from Russia’s federal tax agency.
Bacardi says it now employs 350 people across seven cities in Russia, and has continued to advertise for new staff locally since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, according to the job postings reviewed by the WSJ.
In March 2022, Bacardi said it had paused exports to Russia and frozen advertising investments in the market. The statement on the company’s website, however, was quietly deleted later.
Analysts interviewed by the WSJ believe that the withdrawal of leading international alcoholic beverage producers from the Russian market has reduced competition and created opportunities for the remaining market players.
Other booze makers that have left Russia or suspended their operations have suffered financial losses.
For instance, Diageo, the owner of the Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker brands, announced its withdrawal from the Russian market in 2022, estimating its losses at USD 178.1 million. Pernod Ricard (Chivas Regal, Jameson, Absolut, Ararat brands), Carlsberg and others have also left the market.
Earlier this year, Swedish vodka producer Absolut and the French group Pernod Ricard, which took it over in 2008, decided to stop exporting their products to Russia amid criticism following reports that supplies had resumed.