McDonald’s is to sell its Russian business, two months after temporarily closing its restaurants in the country as part of the exodus of western companies in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
The chain, which operated 850 restaurants in Russia and employed 62,000 people, on Monday said its business in the country was not “consistent with McDonald’s values” following President Vladimir Putin’s invasion.
“The humanitarian crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, and the precipitating unpredictable operating environment, have led McDonald’s to conclude that continued ownership of the business in Russia is no longer tenable,” McDonald’s said in a statement.
The Chicago-based company said it expected to book a non-cash charge of $1.2bn to $1.4bn for the exit, and did not identify a possible buyer for the business.
The company has continued to pay its Russian employees since temporarily closing its local stores in mid-March. The group on Monday said it wanted a Russian buyer to hire those workers.
Chief executive Chris Kempczinski said: “We have a commitment to our global community and must remain steadfast in our values . . . and our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining [in Russia].”
The US fast-food group opened its first Russian restaurant in Moscow in 1990 when the introduction of a well-known western chain was seen as one of the markers of the end of the Soviet Union.