Unilever is to reportedly keep making ice cream in Russia even after demerging the rest of the division from the business.

The FMCG giant said in March it plans to separate its ice cream business from the company.

Unilever said the demerger would make the group “a standalone, more focused business”, that will have more “operational and financial flexibility”.

The Ben & Jerry’s manufacturer, which is the world’s largest producer of ice cream, said demerging the assets into a listed company was “the most likely separation route”.

According to media outlets including The Telegraph newspaper in the UK, Unilever reportedly will not include its Russian ice cream division in the demerger.

Consumer-goods companies have faced public pressure to quit operating in Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine.

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Unilever has been included on a list of companies dubbed by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine as “sponsors of war”. When the NACP added Unilever to the list, it said the company’s profits in Russia doubled from 2021 to 2022.

In July last year, it was reported Reginaldo Ecclissato, Unilever’s chief business operations and supply chain officer, had told campaign group the B4Ukraine Coalition the company did “not think it is right to abandon our people in Russia”.

On the possibility of selling the business, Ecclissato reportedly said it had not yet been able to find a solution “which avoids the Russian state potentially gaining further benefit and which safeguards our people”.

He added since the war started Unilever had “put strict constraints around our business, including ceasing all capital flows into and out of the country and stopping imports and exports of our products”.

“The Russian government has made it clear that the employees of companies in Russia which abandon or run down their business could face criminal prosecution. The closure of our ice-cream business could be considered such a breach,” Ecclissato was quoted as saying.

Just Food has contacted Unilever for comment on the reports of its plans to retain the ice-cream business in Russia post-demerger.