Russia blocks Western companies from accessing Russian earnings worth €16.7 billion

Russia has blocked multiple Western companies from accessing around €16.7 billion worth of income earned in the country in 2022, The Financial Times reported on Monday, citing data provided by the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE).

US businesses operating in Russia generated the largest combined profit of €4.6 billion, the KSE numbers show, followed by German, Austrian and Swiss companies which earned €2.3 billion, €1.8 billion and €930 million, respectively.

Austria’s Raiffeisen bank earned €1.9 billion in Russia in 2022, the largest profit of any Western business operating in the country. US corporations Philip Morris and PepsiCo made €709 and €672 million, respectively.

Russia imposed a dividend payout ban on businesses from so-called “unfriendly” countries in 2022, though some firms subsequently found ways to circumvent the restrictions. The Russian subsidiary of US food group Mars, for example, paid about €750 million to its parent company last year by offsetting it against its debts.

Russia’s Finance Ministry eased the dividend regulation last month. A Financial Times source involved in negotiating exit deals for Western companies leaving Russia said that Russia allows so-called “loyal” companies to distribute dividends as “encouragement for ‘good behaviour’”, which, the source said, included a commitment to remain in the country.

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