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    Legal battles over Carlsberg’s Russian unit to last years, CEO says

    Barrels are seen at the museum of the Baltika brewery in St. Petersburg, October 12, 2014. REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk/File Photo

    Legal wrangling over Carlsberg’s seized Russian business will likely continue for years, its chief executive Jacob Aarup-Andersen said on Tuesday.

    Moscow took control of Carlsberg’s stake in Baltika Breweries in July 2023 after the beer giant tried to sell it, prompting Aarup-Andersen to say its business had been stolen. Carlsberg subsequently wrote down the value of its stake to zero.

    The brewer is now embroiled in a range of related lawsuits. A large legal team continues to work to protect Carlsberg’s rights, but it is unlikely resolution would come anytime soon, Aarup-Andersen said in an interview.

    “We expect these legal disputes to continue for years. That’s an honest expectation. For us, it’s more noise than anything else,” he said.

    “The business is valued at zero, and we’re not spending a lot of time on it,” he said.

    Earlier in April, Baltika sued four Carlsberg subsidiaries for damages amounting to around $902 million (£720m). Court filings did not specify what the damages were. The two companies have been locked in a dispute over licensing.

    Russia used to be Carlsberg’s largest market, but the company has pivoted in recent years to focus on China. It reported better-than-expected first quarter sales on Tuesday, thanks to growth in Chinese market share, higher sales of expensive beers and price increases.

    (Reuters)

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