(AP) – McDonald’s said Monday that it has already begun the process of selling its business in Russia, which includes 850 restaurants with 62,000 people, making it the newest major corporation in the West. which has come out of Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.
The fast food giant pointed to the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, saying that continuing its business in Russia “is no longer sustainable, nor is it in line with McDonald’s values.”
The Chicago -based company announced in early March that it was temporarily closing its stores in Russia but would continue to pay employees. On Monday, it said it wanted to have a Russian buyer hire workers and pay them until the sale was over. It does not identify a future buyer.
CEO Chris Kempczinski said the “dedication and loyalty of McDonald’s” of employees and hundreds of Russian suppliers made it a difficult decision to leave.
“However, we have a commitment to our global community and must remain consistent with our values,” Kempczinski said in a statement, “and our commitment to our values means we can no longer continue to shine. in the arches there. “
As it tries to sell its restaurants, McDonald’s said it plans to begin removing gold arches and other symbols and signs bearing the company name. It says it will hide Russian trademarks.
Russia’s first McDonald’s opened in the center of Moscow more than three decades ago, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a powerful symbol of easing Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union.
McDonald’s was the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. McDonald’s decision to leave because other American food and beverage giants including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks stopped or closed operations in Russia in the face of Western sanctions.
Corporations from British energy giants Shell and BP to French carmaker Renault have already left Russia, hitting their bottom line as they seek to sell their assets there. Some companies remain even in part, with others facing blowback.
McDonald’s says it hopes to record a charge against revenue of between $ 1.2 billion and $ 1.4 billion on leaving Russia.
Its restaurants in Ukraine are closed, but the company says it continues to pay full salaries for its employees there.
McDonald’s has more than 39,000 locations in more than 100 countries. Most are owned by franchisees-only about 5% are owned and operated by the company.
McDonald’s says Russia’s exit will not change its forecast to add a net of 1,300 restaurants this year, which will contribute about 1.5% to sales growth across the company.
Last month, McDonald’s reported that it earned $ 1.1 billion in the first quarter, up from more than $ 1.5 billion last year. Revenue is nearly $ 5.7 billion.
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