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Schneider Electric to exit Russia

The company is selling its Russian unit to local management, as it joins a host of countries leaving the country

French digital automation company Schneider Electric has agreed to sell its Russian unit to the local leadership team it revealed today.

The business is expected to write off up to €300 million (£258.6 million) in net book value as a result of this divestment.

Schneider Electric has put on hold new investments in Russia and Belarus as well as international shipments of new orders destined for Russia and Belarus since 24 February 2022. For the full year 2021, the company generated approximately 2% of its total sales in Russia.

"Schneider Electric is planning an orderly transfer and is allocating resources to support the employees in Russia and Belarus through the process," the company said.

Foreign companies looking to leave Russia following the war in Ukraine also face the prospect of a new law being introduced in the upcoming weeks which would allow the country to impose criminal penalties and seize assets, which has caused some businesses to speed up their departure.

Schneider Electric isn’t the only company in the technology industry leaving the country, Cisco revealed at the end of June it was doing the same. It said it would withdraw from Russia and Belarus permanently after suspending business activities and services in the country in March.

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Other tech companies that have followed this path include Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, IBM, and Intel, which have protested the war by suspending their services.

The new law would allow Russia to seize companies owned by “unfriendly” countries, sparking concerns that Western companies could be impacted later on and make the task of removing themselves more difficult and expensive.

In April, Nokia also suspended its business operations in the Russian market due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. The announcement, the day after Ericsson issued a similar statement, undermined that continuing the company’s presence in Russia would not be possible due to the ongoing military conflict initiated by the Russian army.

“Over the last weeks, we have suspended deliveries, stopped new business and are moving our limited R&D activities out of Russia. We can now announce we will exit the Russian market. During this process, our priority continues to be the safety and wellbeing of our employees,” it added.

Nokia is estimated to have around 2,000 staff in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Voronezh, with Russia accounting for “less than 2%” of the Finnish telecom’s net sales in 2021.

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