Grupo Bimbo bucks Mexico’s pacifist stance to suspend operations in Russia

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Grupo Bimbo has had a presence in Russia since 2017. Pic: Grupo Bimbo
Grupo Bimbo has had a presence in Russia since 2017. Pic: Grupo Bimbo

Related tags Grupo bimbo Russia-Ukraine conflict Mexico

Mexican giant Grupo Bimbo has announced it is halting all operations in Russia – including distribution, sales, investment and marketing – in protest of Putin’s war.

After the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, numerous countries around the globe imposed sanctions on Russia. However, the Mexican government specified it would not follow suit nor intervene in the war, maintaining its ‘pacifist’ position on the fence.

At the end of February, Grupo Bimbo temporarily suspended its operations at its plant in Dnipro, Ukraine, citing the safety of its 150 workers in the conflict zone.

Now, it has deemed the ongoing conflict to be particularly tenuous – and an ‘additional risk’ for its global operation because it is impacting the price of wheat, it’s main raw material.

The decision means Bimbo becomes the first Mexican company to fully suspend commercial relations with Russia.

Breaking ties

Bimbo expanded into Russia in 2017 with the acquisition of East Balt Bakeries, a leading company in the QSR industry. Russia is one of the largest country in the world, and it was a huge achievement for the Mexican company. It has subsequently cemented its footprint in the region, building a network of 362 ‘associates’ and providing the foodservice channel with hamburger buns, multigrain buns and hot dog buns.

Bimbo posted group sales of MXN348.9bn ($16.7bn) in 2021, posting a Q4 17% increase of sales volume in Europe, which includes Ukraine and Russia. The latter, however, accounts for less than 0.5% of total sales, it said.

“Due to the current international situation, and in line with the core values of Grupo Bimbo, our company has suspended sales of the Bimbo brand in Russia, as well as its new capital and marketing investments in that country.

“We will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation as circumstances evolve,”​ the company said in a statement.

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