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US and French companies lead list of those that have not withdrawn from Russia

While several hundred foreign businesses have withdrawn from Russia, 131 have not. Most of these are from Europe or the US.

By Sebastian Shehadi

More than 600 foreign companies in Russia, most of which are from Western nations, have suspended business activity in the country or announced plans to divest entirely since the start of the Ukraine invasion. However, 131 remain operational in the country.

Although the list of companies withdrawing from Russia grows in number each day, a significant minority of multinationals in Russia are remaining silent on the issue and have taken no public action to boycott or divest from the Russian market. The vast majority of these are from Western countries, with those from the US and France topping the list by volume. The rest are almost entirely from East Asia, more specifically China, Taiwan and Hong Kong (in that order). 

In some respects this is unsurprising, since Europe and North America have been an enormous source of foreign investment to Russia over the past 30 years. On other hand, it is notable to see that the US companies that have not taken action in Russia have fairly small consumer profiles (which helps them hide from public criticism), while the majority of French businesses are household names (in Europe, at least) – hence the public backlash that most of these have faced. Overall, French companies have been the slowest of all businesses (from Western countries) to take action in Russia, and by far, proportionately speaking – an ever-growing source of controversy in French and EU politics. 

To clarify just how slow they have been, it is worth noting that 51% of all French companies in Russia have done nothing to withdraw, compared to just compared to just 6% of US companies.

Listed below are the 29 French companies that have not withdrawn from Russia, as compiled by Yale School of Management and last dated 6 April.

Like France, the companies from China that have taken zero political action in Russia are also household names – however, they have not faced a tidal wave of criticism from the West, or from their Chinese home market, more interestingly. In fact, quite the opposite. For example, the ride-hailing app Didi received significant public backlash in China after announcing that it would withdraw from the Russian market on 4 March. Chinese people took to the internet to accuse the country of giving in to US pressure, a development that showcases the widespread support for Russia among the Chinese population. In fact, so squeezed was Didi, that the company actually made a U-turn and said it would continue operating in Russia.

French companies that have taken no action in Russia:

Atos
Auchan-Retail
Boiron
Bonduelle
Bureau Veritas
Camille Albane
EDF
Engie
Eutelsat
Groupe BPCE
Groupe le Duff
Groupe Seb
Groupe Savencia
Jacques Dessange
Jean-Loius David
L'Occitaine
La Redoute
Laboratoire Servie
Lacoste
LACTALIS
Legrand
Leroy Merlin
Simba Dickie Group
Societe General
Vinci SA

Understand the impact of the Ukraine conflict from a cross-sector perspective with the Global Data Executive Briefing: Ukraine Conflict.

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