AB InBev suspends Bud sales in Russia, forfeits brewing income

BRUSSELS, March 11 (Reuters) - Anheuser-Busch InBev said on Friday it was suspending sales of Bud in Russia and forfeiting all financial benefit from a joint venture that operates in the country, following similar action from other major brewers.

The world’s largest brewer is partners with Turkey’s Anadolu Efes in Russia and Ukraine, but does not have a controlling stake and does not consolidate it in its accounts.

“We have requested the controlling shareholder to suspend the license for the production and sale of Bud in Russia. Furthermore, we are forfeiting all financial benefit from the joint venture operations,” AB InBev said in a statement.

AB InBev’s actions follow those of other major brewers. Heineken and Carlsberg have stopped sales of their namesake leading brands in Russia and ring-fenced their Russian operations.

The AB InBev-Efes joint venture has 11 breweries in Russia, employing 3,500 people and three in Ukraine, employing 1,800.

AB InBev said the employees would continue to be supported and paid.

It added it was working with the Red Cross, local NGOs and other consumer product groups to provide food, blankets, medical supplies and 2 million cans of drinking water to Ukraine and the surrounding refugee relief areas.

Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop, Editing by Louise Heavens