Some Western companies decline to join corporate exodus from Russia over Ukraine invasion

The corporate exodus from Russia continued Tuesday as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Pepsi announced that they are temporarily suspending business in Russia over Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Hundreds of well-known companies, from Apple to Levi’s, announced in the early days of the war that they would stop doing business with Russia.

Consumers started applying pressure to big brands who were holding out as hashtags like #BoycottMcDonalds and #BoycottCocaCola trended on Twitter in recent days.

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Yale University professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld also compiled a list of a few dozen companies “that remain in Russia with significant exposure.”

A Morning Consult poll found that 75% of Americans support businesses cutting business ties with Russia over the invasion.

Here’s a look at some of the notable brands who are keeping operations open in Russia as of Tuesday:

Philip Morris

Packs of Marlboro cigarettes are displayed for sale at a convenience store. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

Tobacco giant Philip Morris first entered the Russian market in the mid-1970s when it signed an agreement with the Soviet Union to produce cigarettes.

The company now has 4,100 employees across two factories in Krasnodar and St. Petersburg, as well as 100 sales offices across Russia.

On Feb. 25, the company said it was suspending operations at its factory in Kharviv, Ukraine, to ensure the safety of its workers there.

John Deere

John Deere, the world’s largest farm equipment maker has been doing business in Russia for more than a century and opened a manufacturing and parts distribution plant near Moscow in 2010.

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Caterpillar

A Caterpillar 279D Compact Track Loader at a demolition site. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Caterpillar opened its first office in Russia in 1973 and now has a distribution center in Moscow and a manufacturing facility in Tosno, which is about 30 miles southeast of St. Petersburg.

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The company provides parts and machinery across a range of industries in Russia, including oil, mining, infrastructure, and transportation.

Papa John’s

Christopher Wynne, the chief executive of Papa John’s franchisee, attends an interview with Reuters in Moscow, Russia, July 21, 2017. (REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

Robert M. Lynch, CEO of Papa John’s, said on a Feb. 24 earnings call that the restaurant franchise has 185 locations in Russia.

“It will depend on how much disruption there is and the impact of that business,” he said about the company’s operations at the time.

Hyatt

Hyatt has five hotels in Russia, including two in Moscow, two in Ekaterinburg, and one in Sochi. A sixth Hyatt hotel is opening soon in Rostov-on-Don.

“We are heartbroken over the devastation unfolding in Ukraine and the mounting tragedies resulting from military actions, loss of life and the dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people,” Hyatt wrote in a statement on March 4.

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Mars

Mars, the iconic candy brand that owns snacks like Skittles, Snickers, Milky Way, and others, has over $2 billion invested in Russia, according to the Yale tally.

Other well-known companies, including Cummins, Marriott, Hilton, Nestle, Honeywell, Abbott Labs, and others have not publicly disclosed plans to close their Russian operations.

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Sonnenfeld, the Yale professor who has been keeping track of business in Russia, said that there’s reason to think the boycott could work, noting that the withdrawal in the 1980s of more than 200 companies from South Africa over apartheid helped beef up US foreign policy.

“Despite the cost of abandoning major investments and the loss of business, there is a strong reputational incentive to withdraw,” Sonnenfeld wrote Monday in a Fortune op-ed.

“Companies that fail to withdraw face a wave of US public resentment far greater than what they face on climate change, voting rights, gun safety, immigration reform, or border security.”

Reuters contributed to this report.

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