French companies face the dilemma of leaving Russia

The pressure on these companies with a presence in Russia increased sharply when the President of Ukraine himself pointed them out on Wednesday.

At the same time, Volodymyr Zelensky called on this Wednesday in front of the French parliament French companies established in Russia to stop supporting “war machine» Russians and leave this country, they find themselves in this political and economic dilemma. Le Figaro makes an assessment of the choice of the main French companies present in Russia.

Companies that have decided to suspend their activities

French automaker Renault, which has been publicly criticized by the Ukrainian president for its activities in Russia, announced on Wednesday evening that it would immediately suspend operations at its Moscow plant and evaluate “possible options for participationin its large Russian subsidiary AvtoVAZ.

As for French banks, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole decided to suspend their activities in Russia almost a month after the invasion of Ukraine. However, these decisions should not affect the results of the two banks too much. From the very beginning of the conflict, BNP and Crédit Agricole indicated that their presence in the Russian and Ukrainian markets was insignificant.

Many French bands have also already decided to suspend their activities in this country. This applies to luxury giants such as LVMH, Kering and Hermès, as well as Airbus, Safran and Alstom.

SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Renault suspends operations in Moscow

Companies that stay in Russia

Adeo, the holding company of Leroy Merlin, which Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked on Wednesday among other companies to leave Russia, responded that the closure would be considered “intentional bankruptcy“,”paving the way for an expropriation that would strengthen Russia’s financial means“Adeo, on the other hand, assured that he “decided at the beginning of the conflict to suspend new investmentsin Russia, where the group claims about 100 stores have 45,000 employees.

Another sign of the Familiale Mulliez association with a strong presence in Russia is Auchan, which has 231 stores in Russia with a turnover of 3.2 billion euros, or more than 10% of its global business. Auchan did not want to comment on Volodymyr Zelensky’s speech before the French Parliament.

Société Générale has not blocked its services in Russia, where it has a strong presence. Its subsidiary Rosbank is indeed a heavyweight in the Russian banking market with 12,000 employees and 2 million customers.

Finally, carpooling platform BlaBlaCar, which has a strong presence in Russia, where it also operates buses, remains in the country but is no longer investing in it. “BlaBlaCar maintains field service, but is isolating its Russian business from the rest of the company and canceling all development projects related to this market.“, — explained the French company in a press release.(assume) its responsibility as an employer to protect the 100 employees of its subsidiary and its community.»

Stop buying Russian gas?

For its part, the French giant TotalEnergies has decided not to conclude or renew contracts for the purchase of Russian oil and petroleum products until the end of 2022. But the group refuses gas. TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanne said on Wednesday that his group could not refuse Russian gas, citing a subscription.contracts for 25 years“.

At the moment, according to Jean-Pierre Clamadier, president of the French energy group Engie, a possible decision to stop buying Russian gas belongs to European governments. “If we decide to stop buying Russian gas, this immediately implies decisions by state authorities to eliminate a form of shortage,” he rated on Wednesday at France Info. “And suddenly we are really convinced that this is a decision that should be taken by public authorities and, possibly, Europe, because it is Europe that has the opportunity to make such decisions and support them with the necessary measures.”he added.

SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: “The first emergency is to become independent of Russian gas,” says Bruno Le Maire

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