Sun, Mar 23, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Russian sanctions ripple through corporate world

Reuters, COPENHAGEN and FRANKFURT, Germany

A deepening economic standoff between Russia and the West over the future of Ukraine has rippled through trading floors and boardrooms, with exporters scrambling to protect revenues and some global financial firms halting services.

US President Barack Obama’s threat to target major sections of the Russian economy should Russian President Vladimir Putin follow up his annexation of Crimea with further incursions in Ukraine has caused alarm in Europe.

The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a special briefing for about 130 companies, including drugs firm Novo Nordisk and brewer Carlsberg, on Friday after being inundated with inquiries about the business implications of the crisis.

In an e-mail to Reuters, Carlsberg’s chief executive said he was monitoring the situation closely and would act if sanctions had a direct impact on his drinks group’s business.

The company produces and sells local beers in both Ukraine and Russia.

“Until now it has been business as usual. We produce, sell and distribute our products to the market without problems,” chief executive officer Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen said. “Our focus is on our employees and our breweries.”

Lemken, a German manufacturer of plows and other farm machinery, has seen a big drop-off in orders from Russia, its second-biggest export market after France, in recent weeks as a sliding ruble raises their sale price.

With Moscow vowing to retaliate against the West’s sanctions, Anthony van der Ley, managing director of the family-run business, is taking no chances. He is sending machinery to Russia now in case the border closes or import charges are hiked.

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