Burger King’s closure of Russia outlets encounters setback

The parent company of fast-food chain Burger King has announced its inability to close shops in Russia as its partner refuses to comply with a directive to suspend all operations in reaction to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

David Shear, President of Restaurant Brands International, RBI, owners of Burger King, stated he is not able to close its 800 restaurants in Russia as its joint venture partner has declined.

Mr. Shear said: “We contacted the main operator of the business and demanded the suspension of Burger King restaurant operations in Russia. “He has refused to do so.”

According to him, to enforce its contracts with Alexander Kolobov, the franchisee, it would need the help of the Russian government but “we know that will not practically happen anytime soon”.

RBI’s entry into Russia a decade ago was through a joint venture partnership with three entities which are Mr. Kolobov, who controls day-to-day operations, private equity and asset management firm Investment Capital Ukraine, and Russia’s state-owned VTB Bank which has been hit by Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, the President of RBI said the company has begun the process of disposing of its 15% ownership stake in the joint venture but that it will take “some time” based on the terms of the agreement.

Burger King, last week said it had suspended all corporate support for its business in the country, following a host of other brands including rival McDonald’s that are seeking to cut ties after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.


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