McDonald’s to sell its Russian business, try to keep workers

McDonald’s to sell its Russian business, try to keep workers
McDonald’s decision to leave comes as other American food and beverage giants including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks have paused or closed operations in Russia
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Updated 16 May 2022

McDonald’s to sell its Russian business, try to keep workers

McDonald’s to sell its Russian business, try to keep workers
  • Last month, McDonald’s reported that it earned $1.1 billion in the first quarter, down from more than $1.5 billion a year earlier

McDonald’s said Monday that it has started the process of selling its Russian business, which includes 850 restaurants that employ 62,000 people, making it the latest major Western corporation to exit Russia since it invaded Ukraine in February.

The fast food giant pointed to the humanitarian crisis caused by the war, saying holding on to its business in Russia “is no longer tenable, nor is it consistent 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 would seek to have a Russian buyer hire those workers and pay them until the sale closes.

It did not identify a prospective buyer.

CEO Chris Kempczinski said the “dedication and loyalty to 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 steadfast in our values,” Kempczinski said in a statement, “and our commitment to our values means that we can no longer keep the arches shining there.”

As it tries to sell its restaurants, McDonald’s said it plans to start removing golden arches and other symbols and signs with the company’s name. It said it will keep its trademarks in Russia.

The first McDonald’s in Russia opened in the middle of Moscow more than three decades ago, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a powerful symbol of the easing of Cold War tensions between the United States and Soviet Union.

McDonald’s was the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union, which would collapse in 1991.

McDonald’s decision to leave comes as other American food and beverage giants including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Starbucks have paused or closed operations in Russia in the face of Western sanctions.

Corporations from British energy giants Shell and BP to French carmaker Renault have pulled out of Russia, taking a hit to their bottom lines as they seek to sell their holdings there.

Other companies have stayed at least partially, with some facing blowback.

McDonald’s said it expects to record a charge against earnings of between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion over leaving Russia.

Its restaurants in Ukraine are closed, but the company said it is continuing to pay full salaries for its employees there.

McDonald’s has more than 39,000 locations across more than 100 countries. Most are owned by franchisees — only about 5 percent are owned and operated by the company.

McDonald’s said exiting Russia will not change its forecast of adding a net 1,300 restaurants this year, which will contribute about 1.5 percent to companywide sales growth.

Last month, McDonald’s reported that it earned $1.1 billion in the first quarter, down from more than $1.5 billion a year earlier.

Revenue was nearly $5.7 billion.


France eyes ‘good investment opportunities’ in Saudi Arabia: Official

France eyes ‘good investment opportunities’ in Saudi Arabia: Official
Updated 11 sec ago

France eyes ‘good investment opportunities’ in Saudi Arabia: Official

France eyes ‘good investment opportunities’ in Saudi Arabia: Official

RIYADH: France is intensifying efforts to take advantage of Saudi investment opportunities in all sectors, mostly energy, technology, water and other industrial services, the country's Ambassador in Saudi Arabia said.

Saudi Arabia is an attractive region and a suitable environment for investments in all its vital sectors, Ludovic Pouille told a press conference.

The French government and the private sector are working to expand the number of companies operating in the Kingdom, which currently stands at about 135, Aleqtisadiah reported citing Pouille.

The aim is to gain large investment spaces, and to benefit from the reforms and economic developments undertaken by Saudi Arabia, which constitute a good opportunity for French companies, he said. 

The French ambassador said France will take the model of agreements between the Al-Ula Authority and his country’s institutions in the fields of infrastructure and culture, as a starting point for expanding the map of investments in the future.


New Saudi smart city AlNama to be zero-carbon

New Saudi smart city AlNama to be zero-carbon
Updated 45 min 19 sec ago

New Saudi smart city AlNama to be zero-carbon

New Saudi smart city AlNama to be zero-carbon

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new AlNama smart city will be a zero-carbon community, according to the company charged with designing the development.

The hospitality hub, located on a 10 sq. km area in Riyadh, will create 10,000 jobs in various sectors, including green-tech industries to create a ‘green circular economy’, Construction Week reported. 

The project is planned to provide 11,000 residential units and an eventual population of 44,000 people.

ALNAMA will be designed by Dubai's URB, and the firm’s CEO Baharash Bagherian said: “AlNama aims to be the next generation of self-sufficient city, producing all the city’s renewable energy needs, as well as the resident’s caloric food intake on site.

“Biosaline agriculture, productive gardens, wadis, and carbon-rich habitats are key features of the development’s innovative and resilient landscape design.

“The city was planned through the design of its landscape, rather than its buildings. This creates an urbanism that is more socially inclusive, more economically valuable, and more sensitive to the environment.”

AlNama will consist of eco-friendly glamping lodges, eco resorts and a nature conservation center to promote ecotourism, while an autism village, wellness center and clinics within the medical hub will help promote medical tourism.

The green-tech hub will provide an innovative ecosystem for urban-tech companies related to food, energy, water, waste, mobility, and building materials


Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses
Updated 01 July 2022

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

Volatile rouble slumps to 10-day low; Gazprom shares extend losses

MOSCOW: The Russian rouble plunged more than 6 percent against the dollar on Friday to its weakest level in 10 days, while shares in Gazprom extended losses after the gas giant canceled dividend payments, pressuring Russian stock indexes, according to Reuters.

As of 1019 GMT, the rouble was 5.9 percent weaker against the dollar at 54.50, earlier hitting its weakest point since June 21 at 54.9250. The currency scaled its highest level in more than seven years on Wednesday.

The unit lost 5.9 percent to trade at 56.85 versus the euro .

The likelihood of the rouble strengthening past 50 to the dollar has eased, said Dmitry Polevoy, head of investment at Locko Invest, although high commodity prices were supporting the Russian currency.

The rouble has become the world’s best-performing currency this year, boosted by measures taken to shield Russia’s financial system from Western sanctions imposed after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24.

The measures have included restrictions on Russian households withdrawing foreign currency savings.

The rouble’s strength has raised concerns among officials and export-focused companies because it dents Russia’s income from selling commodities and other goods abroad for dollars and euros.

Expectations that Russian authorities could resort to foreign currency interventions were putting pressure on the rouble, Polevoy said.

Dividend Fallout 

Shares in Russian energy giants Rosneft and Gazprom followed divergent courses as investors responded to the two companies’ opposing dividend decisions.

Gazprom’s shares were down 5.5 percent, extending heavy losses from the previous session after the gas giant decided not to pay dividends on last year’s results for the first time in more than two decades.

Meanwhile, shares in oil major Rosneft, which approved 2021 dividend payments after Thursday’s closing bell, were gaining ground, up 4.5 percent.

“There are few reasons for optimism in the Russian market,” said Otkritie Research in a note.

The commodity sectors of the market will be under pressure and the rouble may lose some ground before the weekend, Otkritie said.

Russian stock indexes were mixed, with the dollar-denominated RTS index shedding 4.3 percent to 1,286.8 points, hitting its lowest mark since mid-June.

The rouble-based MOEX Russian index was 1 percent higher at 2,225.8 points.

 


Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry
Updated 01 July 2022

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

Saudi Arabia licences 79 factories with $266.5m investments in May: Ministry

RIYADH: The Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources licensed 79 new factories in May, with investments exceeding SR1 billion ($266.5 million), reaching 411 as total number of licenses since the beginning of the year.

The number of industrial facilities across the Kingdom reached 10,638, led by non-metallic minerals with over 2,056 factories, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Rubber and plastics factories followed with 1,346, while food factories reached 1,268.

Making food products accounted for the largest proportion of the total new licenses with 16 licenses, a report by the ministry’s National Industrial Information Center showed.

Small establishments acquired the vast majority of the new industrial licenses during May, with a rate of 92.4 percent, followed by medium enterprises with 6.3 percent. 

Large enterprises consisted of 1.3 percent of the new licenses, while national factories acquired new licenses by type of investment by 77 percent, followed by foreign enterprises with 13 percent, and joint investment enterprises with 10 percent.

The ministry's report showed that 62 industrial facilities began actual production in May, with investments of SR1.3 billion.

As many as 32 new industrial licenses were issued in the Saudi capital Riyadh, while 19 were issued in the Eastern region, and 11 in Makkah, the report said.

The eastern region occupied the largest number of factories that started production with 17 factories, followed by Riyadh with 16, and the Asir region with 10 factories.

Number of jobs created by the industrial sector during May reached 2,516, all of them citizens, while more than 19,000 expatriate workers left the sector during the same month, the ministry said.


TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap
Updated 01 July 2022

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

TASI down from record high to 2nd biggest monthly decline in 2022: Monthly Recap

RIYADH: The Saudi main index, TASI, sank to its second-largest monthly decline in 2022 in the final session of June, led by fears of interest rate hikes hitting investors’ optimism.

TASI ended June losing 11 percent, to reach 11,523 at the closing bell of Thursday’s session.  

During June, the Tadawul All Share Index suffered its worst decline in six months to reach 11,299.

This was led by a 5.43 percent fall in oil giant Saudi Aramco, and 15.47 percent decrease in the Kingdom’s largest valued bank, Al Rajhi.

Saudi Industrial Export Co. topped the fallers list despite being the top gainer last month, down 63.87 percent.

Also adding to this was a weak performance from all listed sectors as they ended June in the red.

Another factor contributing to the performance was the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, which sent oil prices on a rollercoaster, creating instability and shaking the market.

It would be pertinent to mention that despite global economic shocks, TASI managed to cross 13,000 points for the first time since 2006 in March, and maintained the level during April as it closed at 13,733.