BAT is withdrawing from Russia, the company announced on its website.
“Building on our announcement of 9th March 2022, we have now completed the review of our presence in Russia. The context is highly complex, exceptionally fast-moving and volatile,” the company said in a statement, referring to the Russian military invasion of Ukraine.
“We have concluded that BAT’s ownership of the business in Russia is no longer sustainable in the current environment,” the company wrote.
“Today, we have initiated the process to rapidly transfer our Russian business in full compliance with international and local laws. Beyond continuing to pay our 2,500 employees, we will do our utmost to safeguard their future employment.
“Upon completion, BAT will no longer have a presence in Russia.
“Following our decision today, and in light of the continuing uncertainty related to Ukraine and Russia and the possible indirect impact on the rest of the group, we consider it prudent to revise our guidance for full-year 2022. We now expect constant currency group revenue growth of 2 percent to 4 percent and mid-single figure constant currency adjusted diluted EPS [earnings per share] growth. In 2021, Ukraine and Russia accounted for 3 percent of group revenue and a slightly lower proportion of adjusted profit from operations.”
BAT faced heavy criticism for an earlier decision to continue operating in Russia. “If you are a member of the board of British American Tobacco, courting popularity was probably never a top personal priority. Even so, the people overseeing a large and widely held FTSE-100 company might still feel obliged to explain why, amid the broad boycott of Russia by multinationals, they think its fine to carry on business in the country roughly as normal,” wrote Nils Pratley in The Guardian.
Earlier, Philip Morris International, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Brands announced the suspension of their operations in Russia.