Russia Ukraine War McDonalds

The oldest of Moscow’s McDonald’s outlets, which was opened on Jan. 31, 1990, is closed on Aug. 21, 2014. McDonald’s says it’s started the process of selling its Russian business, which includes 850 restaurants that employ 62,000 people. AP Photo/FILE

After more than three decades, McDonald’s is pulling out of Russia and seeking to find a “local buyer” for its business there – which includes 850 restaurants in the country.

In early March, McDonald’s temporarily closed its restaurants in Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent with McDonald’s values,” the company said Monday in a statement.

Whoever buys its Russian restaurants will no longer be allowed to use the McDonald’s iconic arch or brand, the company said, adding that it wants to protect its 62,000 employees in Russia.

“McDonald’s priorities include seeking to ensure the employees of McDonald’s Russia continue to be paid until the close of any transaction and that employees have future employment with any potential buyer,” McDonald’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Chris Kempczinski, said in a statement.

“We have a long history of establishing deep, local roots wherever the Arches shine . . . Their dedication and loyalty to McDonald’s make today’s announcement extremely difficult,” he said.


Kempczinski continued, “we have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values. And our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the Arches shining there.”

The fast-food giant is the latest Western company to exit the Russian market since the war began. French automaker Renault Group also announced Monday that it is pulling its business of Russia – and selling its shares there to Russian government entities.

Renault said it will sell all of its shares in Renault Russia to the Moscow city government – and its nearly 68 percent stake in Russian automaker AvtoVAZ, which produces the Lada car, to a Russian federal agency, according to a news release.

“We have taken a difficult but necessary decision; and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45,000 employees in Russia, while preserving the Group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context,” Renault Group CEO Luca de Meo said in a the news release.

Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade also announced that the “Russian assets of the Renault Group” would “become state property.”

Bloomberg News reported that the move to sell the $2.3 billion Russian auto business amounts to a nationalization, sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The comments from Renault’s CEO came days after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the company by name in a speech before the French Parliament, according to the Hill newspaper. “Renault, Auchan, Leroy Merlin and others. They must cease to be sponsors of Russia’s military machine, sponsors of the killing of children and women, sponsors of rape, robbery and looting by the Russian army,” Zelensky said.

Renault’s ties to Russia date to a $1 billion deal in 2007, and the country has since become the company’s second-largest market, Bloomberg News reported. In March, de Meo warned that a Renault retreat in Russia would create a “very complex situation” by eating into the company’s profits and sales, Reuters reported.

Renault has the option to buy back the AvtoVAZ shares at certain times during the next six years, according to its release.

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