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Finland’s Valio quits Russia days after suspending exports

“We strongly condemn Russia’s invasion of independent Ukraine,” Valio president and CEO Annikka Hurme said.

By Simon Harvey

Finish food group Valio has quit Russia just days after suspending exports due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We strongly condemn Russia’s invasion of independent Ukraine,” Valio president and CEO Annikka Hurme said in a statement today (7 March). “Valio does not have the ethical pre-conditions to continue operating in Russia, and we will therefore close down our operations in Russia.”

On Friday, Valio halted shipments to Russia, where it has a factory near Moscow. It joined Finnish food peers Fazer Group and Raisio in suspending exports to Russia last week, but Fazer has gone a step further today in announcing it will also “exit” the country.

Last week, Valio also stopped exports to Belarus, while the import of raw materials and packaging from Russia to Finland has been halted, it said in an update today.

Valio said it has one processed cheese factory near Moscow, along with contract manufacturing partners and sales offices in St. Petersburg and in the Russian capital, employing around 400 people.

“The shutdown of businesses will begin immediately. There are a lot of details involved in the decision to close down and shut down, which we have already worked on and have now been able to talk about,” Valio said.

The business has an annual turnover in Russia of about EUR85m (US$92.1m), it confirmed.

Valio, which accounts for around a quarter of all Finland’s food exports, generated net sales of EUR1.81bn in 2020. The company has yet to publish its 2021 figures.

Until the suspension, Valio had been shipping lactose-free milk, baby food and its Oddlygood plant-based products to Russia. Ukraine has also been one of Valio’s export markets. It ships butter and cheese from its factories in Finland to the country.

For more on Just Food’s coverage on how the conflict is affecting the food industry, please visit our dedicated microsite.

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