An ever-expanding list of public companies, including Apple, Exxon, GM, and Nike, are proudly announcing they are cutting ties to Russia as its invasion of Ukraine brings condemnation and sanctions.
But while all this sounds very 'politically-correct' and 'shared-sacrifice'-y, Bloomberg reports that if every U.S. tech firm followed Apple and disconnected from Russia, it would reduce revenue by only 1%-2% in a worst-case scenario, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives. So far, the lost business looks like it won’t have a major impact on profits (or stock prices), especially with China being by far Russia's largest trading partner.
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In fact, for some, like Exxon, cutting ties with Russia can spark a 'virtue-signaling' ESG boost with minimal impact to the company's actual business, and as Bloomberg's Tim Culpan remarks in a very frank opinion piece, consumer brands halting sales in Russia "smells of opportunism" to some, with transportation constrained, limited access to international payments systems, and a sinking ruble:
"While that sounds like an appropriate response to Moscow’s brutality, it also smells of opportunism...
...it’s hard not to wonder whether companies were taking a principled stand only once it was no longer feasible to do business in the country"
Of course soaring oil and other commodities cost will strike at profits as expenses rise and consumers have less to spend. But, as Axios details, in the seven days since Putin's invasion began, the following companies have unleashed their anti-Russia PR campaigns:
Boeing suspended major operations in Moscow, as well as maintenance and technical support for Russian airlines.
Airbus is halting supply of parts and services to Russian airlines.
Exxon Mobil says it will exit Russia oil and gas operations valued at more than $4 billion and cease new investment.
GM, which sells only about 3,000 cars a year in Russia, says it will suspend exporting vehicles.
Ford suspended operations.
BMW stopped shipments and will stop production in Russia.
Daimler Truck Holdings said it would no longer send supply components to its Russian joint-venture partner.
Renault ceased operations and production at two assembly plants because it can't get parts.
VW paused delivery of Audis already in Russia so it can adjust car prices to reflect the decline in value of the ruble.
Harley-Davidson suspended shipments to Russia.
Adidas suspended its partnership with the Russian Football Union.
Nike ceased online sales because it can’t guarantee delivery.
FedEx and UPS suspended shipments.
Yoox Net-A-Porter Group and Farfetch, luxury e-commerce platforms, are suspending deliveries in Russia.
Apple has paused product sales and limited services (including Apple Pay), on top of ceasing exports to Russia and restricting features in Apple Maps in Ukraine to safeguard civilian safety.
Dell stopped selling products.
Ericsson is suspending deliveries to Russia.
Walt Disney is pausing film debuts in Russia. Warner Bros., Sony, Paramount and Universal say they won't release films in the country.
So with companies falling over themselves to signal their anti-Putin virtue, we give Bloomberg's Tim Culpan the last word:
"So if we want to measure business executives’ true character, watch what they do in authoritarian countries during times of peace and abundant revenue. We need not wait for the violence to start and the money flow to stop."
Harsh, but fair, in the current 'hold your nose' over Beijing's human rights abuses environment... and will all the same companies pull out of China when/if it invades Taiwan?