Japan’s Uniqlo backtracks to quit Russia as Britain hits oligarchs

March 10 (Reuters) – Japanese brands Uniqlo and Japan Tobacco have flip-flopped and said they are shutting down business in Russia, joining the crowd of companies avoiding Moscow on Thursday, and Britain has stepped up sanctions on the oligarchs, including Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich.

Investment bank Goldman Sachs (GS.N) became the first US bank to leave Russia, and global grain trader Bunge (BG.N) said it had suspended new export business since the Russia, although it continues to crush oilseeds for the domestic market. Read more .

Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would emerge stronger and more independent from Western sanctions, which he said were inevitable. Corporate condemnation of Russia’s attack on Ukraine is spreading, but Putin, who calls the war a special military operation, said he had no choice.

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The fallout is also widening among Putin’s personal allies, as Abramovich and six others, including Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian energy giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM), have become the most prominent oligarchs sanctioned by the Grand Britain since the invasion.

The action effectively places Chelsea under the control of the British government, halting any cessions and halting further ticket or merchandise sales. Read more

Britain’s move came as first major mining company Rio Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX) said it was cutting all ties with Russian companies, including fuel sources and other materials for its Mongolian copper operations at Oyu Tolgoi, where possible, and the use of an alumina refinery in Ireland. Read more

The Japanese Sony and Nintendo have suspended deliveries of their game consoles; The music businesses of Sony and Warner Music Group (WMG.O) also ceased operations in Russia.

HOTELIERS RESUME

Major fast food, beverage and consumer goods companies, led by McDonalds and Coca-Cola, pulled out of Russia following pressure from Western customers.

Hotelier Marriott International (MAR.O) closed its Moscow office and joined Hilton (HLT.N) and Hyatt (HN) in pausing developments.

The exodus of Japanese companies has accelerated, with many describing the decisions in practical terms.

Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing (9983.T) had told Japanese media that the company would continue to operate its 50 stores in Russia because “clothing is a necessity of life”, but on Thursday the company said it could not continue its activities in Russia because of “a number of difficulties.”

Japan Tobacco, which controls about a third of Russia’s tobacco market, said its subsidiary would stop investing, marketing and launching a heated tobacco product. Read more

Japan’s Shiseido (4911.T) suspended exports of its cosmetics to Russia from Europe as well as advertising and promotions, and Mitsubishi Electric said it would halt exports to Russia, where operations were in a “difficult situation”.

Japanese construction machinery supplier Hitachi said it would halt exports and halt most operations in Russia, except for vital electrical installations, following similar exits from US industrial companies Caterpillar (CAT.N) , 3M Co (MMM.N), Deere (DE.N). ) and Honeywell (HON.O).

Customers queue to enter a Uniqlo store in Moscow, Russia March 10, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“We considered several factors, including the supply chain situation,” a Hitachi spokesperson said, echoing a Caterpillar statement.

While some companies such as Ford (FN) and Apple (AAPL.O) have condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, others, including Japanese automaker Toyota (7203.T), have taken a stance. more neutral, attributing the halt in production in Russia to logistical obstacles. . Read more

Swiss bank Credit Suisse (CSGN.S) reported Russian credit exposure of around $900 million, including loans to high net worth clients, following revelations from Italy’s UniCredit (CRDI.MI) and of the French BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA). Read more

Suzuki’s Hungarian plant (7269.T) has suspended car exports to Russia and Ukraine, around 10,000 vehicles a year, in one of the first signs of the conflict that is hitting the whole of Europe. economy of the region. Read more

Broad Western sanctions have isolated Russia, while shippers have suspended routes and European Union leaders plan to phase out buying Russian energy in a bid to be less dependent on the country. Read more

The war, which entered its third week on Thursday, has killed thousands and rendered more than two million refugees. Read more

It decimated the Russian rouble, rattled stock markets, and prices for oil and other commodities soared, adding to global inflation that was soaring even before the conflict began.

YouTube and Alphabet Inc’s Google Play Store (GOOGL.O) are suspending all payment services in Russia, including subscriptions, as sanctions begin to cause banking problems. Read more

They had previously stopped selling online ads in Russia. Read more

PAY IN RUBLES

Russia plans to order local airlines to pay for leased planes in rubles and ban them from returning planes to foreign companies if the latter cancel the lease, according to a draft law released Thursday. Read more

Lessor BOC Aviation (2588.HK) said it had 18 planes worth $935 million leased from Russian airlines that could be affected by sanctions and cancellations of insurance policies. Read more

Moscow, which calls the war a “special military operation”, has warned it could nationalize idle foreign assets in retaliation for Western sanctions.

Rio Tinto, which has an 80% stake in a joint venture with Russian aluminum producer Rusal , said it was “terminating all business relationships it has with any Russian company”. Read more

Italian energy group Eni suspended oil purchases from Russia and said it was closely monitoring developments in gas supplies. Read more

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Reporting by Michael Holden in London, Niket Nishant in Bengaluru, Matt Scuffham and Sinead Cruise in New York, Praveen Menon in Wellington, Sam Nussey, Rocky Swift, Tim Kelly and Mariko Katsumura in Tokyo, Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich, Paresh Dave in Oakland , Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles, Karl Plume in Chicago and other Reuters offices; Written by Sayantani Ghosh, Paul Sandle and Peter Henderson; edited by Susan Fenton and Nick Zieminski

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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