Apple halts product sales in Russia, adding pressure from shippers and automakers | Investment News

By Jonathan Saul, Stine Jacobsen and Dawn Chmielewski

(Reuters) – Major U.S. brands including Apple, Google, Ford and Harley-Davidson halted sales on Tuesday and moved away from Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine, joining a growing list of companies ranging from shippers to automakers to energy companies fleeing the country.

Apple Inc said it had halted sales of iPhones and other products in Russia, Alphabet Inc’s Google pulled Russian state publishers from its news, Ford Motor told its Russian manufacturing partner that was suspending operations in the country, and Harley-Davidson Inc suspended operations and deliveries of its bikes.

Early in the day, the world’s largest shipping companies, MSC and Maersk, suspended container shipping to and from Russia, deepening the country’s isolation.

The West has imposed heavy restrictions on Russia to cut off its economy from the global financial system, prompting companies to suspend sales, sever ties and dump tens of billions of dollars in investments.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all those suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said in a statement announcing a sales pause in Russia and other measures, including the limitation of Apple Pay and removal of the ability to download RT News outside of Russia.

The steady drumbeat of companies taking a stand increased later in the day when rockets hit major cities across Ukraine.

“Ford is deeply concerned about the invasion of Ukraine and the resulting threats to peace and stability. The situation has forced us to reassess our operations in Russia,” Ford said, adding to several days of announcements from global automakers.

Nike Inc has made purchases of goods on its website and app unavailable in Russia because it cannot guarantee delivery of goods to customers in the country, an update on the apparel maker’s website showed on Tuesday. sport.

The MSC and Maersk decisions mean that Russia – the world’s 11th largest economy and supplier of a sixth of all commodities – is now effectively cut off from much of the world’s shipping capacity.

To stem the stampede, Moscow said on Tuesday it would temporarily block foreign investors from selling Russian assets, but energy companies BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have already decided to abandon their Russian operations, while major banks, airlines, automakers and others have cut shipments. and terminated partnerships.

Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) is considering leaving Russia, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, a move that would make it the first European bank to do so since the invasion.

Mining and commodities group Glencore Plc said it was reviewing all business activities in Russia, including stakes in EN+ and Rosneft.

“The business community is building a fortress to isolate Russia from the international community,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and market analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

Energy companies have been leaders in the rejection of Russia, and on Tuesday French oil and gas group TotalEnergies said it would no longer provide capital for new projects in Russia.

Paramount Pictures has become the latest Hollywood studio to halt theatrical film distribution in Russia, announcing on Tuesday that it will suspend release of upcoming films ‘The Lost City’ and ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’.

Within weeks, Russia went from a lucrative bet on soaring oil prices to a financial pariah with a central bank crippled by sanctions, big banks locked out of the international payments system and capital controls stifling flows. monetary.

US payment card companies Visa Inc and Mastercard Inc have blocked several Russian financial institutions from their network.

Major car and truck manufacturers, including Volvo Cars, AB Volvo, General Motors Co, Harley-Davidson and Jaguar Land Rover, have also halted exports to Russia. BMW said it was stopping local production and car exports to Russia.

Finnish telecommunications equipment company Nokia joined rival Ericsson in saying it would halt deliveries to Russia to comply with sanctions.

The Swiss-based company that built the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany is considering filing for insolvency, two sources familiar with the matter have said, as it attempts to settle claims ahead of schedule US sanctions limit.

The company, Nord Stream 2 AG, has not commented on a possible insolvency.

The United States has restricted exports of technological equipment, including computers, sensors, lasers, navigation tools, telecommunications, aerospace and marine equipment, which has prompted many technology companies, such as Dell Technologies Inc. , to suspend their sales in Russia.

Big US tech companies are juggling calls to shut down services in Russia with what they see as a mission to give voice to dissent and protest.

Some state-linked U.S. investors have expressed their expectations of the companies, with Connecticut Treasurer Shawn Wooden saying he would order state pension funds to sell Russian assets.

“We need to send a very clear and unequivocal response that California will not tolerate Russian aggression,” California Treasurer Fiona Ma said Monday, declaring her support for the divestment of Russian assets from Russia’s pension funds. State.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation” which it says is not designed to occupy territory but to destroy the military capabilities of its southern neighbor and capture what it sees as dangerous nationalists.

Airlines are preparing for long blockages of east-west flight corridors after the EU and Moscow issued airspace bans, which are expected to affect 20% of global air cargo.

(Additional reporting by Nikolaj Skydsgaard and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen, Sudip Kar-Gupta and Sarah Morland in Paris, Foo Yun Chee in Brussels, Jamie Freed in Sydney, Maria Ponnezhath and Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru, Ben Klayman in Detroit, Dmitry Zhdannikov and Carolyn Cohn in London and Dawn Chmielewski in Los Angeles. Writing by Jan Harvey, Jane Merriman and Peter Henderson; editing by Mark Potter, Carmel Crimmins, Matthew Lewis and Bernard Orr)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.


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