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Bacardi thrives in altered Russian alcohol market, defying earlier promises to exit Russia

Ukraine added Bacardi, the world’s largest private alcohol company, to its list of international war sponsors. Despite promising solidarity, Bacardi kept operating in the Russian market, paying $12 million into Russia’s state budget.
Photo: UNN
Bacardi thrives in altered Russian alcohol market, defying earlier promises to exit Russia

On 10 August, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NACP) added the Bermudian company Bacardi Limited to the list of international war sponsors.

After the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, Bacardi announced that it would stop exporting to Russia and investing in advertising. But, as per NACP, this statement disappeared from the company’s official portal later.

“The company continued to supply its products to the Russian Federation for millions of dollars and to look for new employees by publishing job advertisements,” NACP reports.

After 24 February 2022, several leading international brand owners exited the Russian alcohol market, which reduced competition and created opportunities for those who remained.

As the anti-corruption agency put it, the Russian division of the company, Bacardi Rus, took advantage of the situation and imported goods worth $169 million during the year of the war in Ukraine.

According to the Federal Tax Service of Russia, Bacardi Rus’ revenue increased by 8.5% to $33 million, and the net profit rose to 4.7 billion. This is 206.5% more than in 2021 (1.5 billion rubles).

As per NACP, Bacardi Limited paid over $12 million in income tax to Russia’s state budget. Thus, Bacardi Limited continues to pay significant taxes to the budget of Russia, support its economy and sponsor aggression against Ukraine.

Bacardi Limited is the largest private international alcohol company in the world. Its products are sold in more than 170 countries. Bacardi owns more than 200 trademarks, including the company’s eponymous rum, the best-selling rum brand in the world.

Earlier, in May 2023, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Ireland, Larysa Gerasko, has called for a boycott of Jameson whiskey due to the company’s decision to continue trading in Russia, RTE reports. Gerasko accuses Jameson of funding Russian aggression in Ukraine through its business dealings. Jameson, owned by French company Pernod Ricard, resumed sales in Russia last year.

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