French companies at an impasse

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STORY – Under pressure, they multiply the announcements of departure from the country. But their effective withdrawal is a path strewn with pitfalls.

“The more the war gets bogged down, the more we plan to get out of Russia”, confides a close friend of Danone. If the dairy giant is preparing to sell its subsidiary, a hasty closure is not an option. He refuses the gift thus made to the local authorities. Worse, he fears retaliation against his 8,000 employees from the 1,500 KGB members present in the companies acquired since the 1990s, and now gone. The sale promises to be complex: Danone is struggling to convince major business firms, particularly Americans, to take on the case. And refuses, for the moment, to entrust it to a Russian cabinet.

Since the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, the multinationals have multiplied the announcements. The first to shoot? American groups, from Apple to WarnerMedia via Boeing, Disney, ExxonMobil and General Motors. At the beginning of March, they chained announcements of suspension of operations in Russia, matching their communication with a condemnation of the war…

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