France-based vegetables products supplier Bonduelle has reiterated that it intends to maintain its presence in Russia.

Despite a number of western food manufacturers leaving the country following Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine in February last year, the canned sweetcorn and petit pois manufacturer has not followed suit.

In a press conference on Monday (2 October), recently installed CEO Xavier Unkovic reportedly confirmed its stance had not changed under his watch.

Responding to a request for clarification from Just Food, Bonduelle – which generates around €200m ($210.1m) in annual sales from in the country – said: “In Russia, our position has not changed”.

A spokesperson added: “We have made the choice, guided by our responsibility as an agro-industrialist, to ensure the continuity of our activities in Russia and to provide essential goods to the populations living in Russia but also in many neighbouring countries – more than 90m people – regardless of their nationality.

“Guaranteeing the continuity of agricultural and food chains is an imperative supported by major international organisations such as the United Nations’ FAO [Food and Agriculture Organization]. This is also the position of the Bonduelle Group.

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“The situation is complex and requires, of course, a permanent reassessment of the conditions of our operations.”

Soon after the conflict started early last year, Bonduelle, which has been established in Russia for more than 25 years and employs more than 1,000 people in three factories there – was forced to temporarily halt production at a frozen food facility in Belgorod, some 25 miles from the Ukrainian border.

But since then its operations have carried on as usual.

In a statement issued last year, Bonduelle said “Ukraine has been suffering a tragic war that saddens us deeply” and said it was “continuing our solidarity efforts to support the families of our Ukrainian employees in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania and to provide the food donations that have been in place since the beginning of the war, in conjunction with NGOs”.

The company added it had suspended all investment projects in Russia since 17 March last year and had decided to dedicate all of its profits from sales in Russia to the future reconstruction of Ukraine.

In the year to 30 June, Bonduelle saw its group revenue increase by 9.2%, year-on-year, to €2.4bn. Operating income was up 24.8% to €65.9m.