Nestle to halt all capital investment in Russia over invasion of Ukraine

Nestle has suspended all capital investment in Russia amid growing pressure on multinational firms to pull out of the country after it invaded Ukraine.

The Swiss food maker, which manufactures brands including KitKat, Nescafe and Quality Street, told Reuters it would continue to supply essential food products in Russia.

Nestle halted manufacturing in Russia on 24 February and now joins other major consumer goods makers in making a more comprehensive withdrawal. The firm has three factories and employs around 5,000 staff in the country.

Procter and Gamble and Unilever both announced this week that they would halt advertising and new capital investment in Russia.

It comes after MacDonald’s bowed to pressure from consumers, pulling out of Russia where its famed golden arches had become a symbol of the transition from communism to capitalism in the 1990s.

The fast food company said that it will shutter all 850 stores in Russia in response to President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine.

Chief executive Chris Kempczinski sent an email to all its employees and franchisees on Tuesday announcing that it will temporarily close all restaurants and pause all operations in Russia, citing the “unspeakable suffering to innocent people” in Ukraine.

All of its 62,000 employees in Russia will still be paid and the fast food giant’s charity arm – the Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) – will continue to operate in the country.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked an exodus of companies from Russia, with hundreds of firms across banking, retail, manufacturing and fossil fuel extraction all announcing plans to leave.

Consumer-facing firms face particular risks to their reputations if they are seen to tacitly support the Kremlin by remaining in Russia.

Shell apologised this week following a backlash against news it had purchased a shipment of Russian oil.

The London-listed energy company announced it would halted all purchases of Russian oil and gas shortly before the UK government announced it would phase out oil imports from Russia by the end of this year.

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