MANY major Western companies still have a presence in Russia — in a move experts describe as “moral-washing”.
After Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine invasion exactly a year ago today, big companies rushed to cut ties with the pariah state as sanctions were imposed.
Sales of Unilever’s products in Russia have continued to contribute almost £500million in tax to Putin’s regime
But experts at the Moral Rating Agency and the Leave Russia organisation say a number which said they would leave have not fully exited.
Unilever defended selling Magnum ice creams in Russia earlier this month, saying it was the “least bad option” to safeguard its factories and 3,500 staff in the region.
But its sales of products there have contributed almost £500million in tax to the regime run by Putin.
Pampers and Pantene-maker Procter & Gamble also continues to operate two huge factories in Russia and sells its hygiene products there.
Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention has included P&G on its list of international sponsors of war.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs continues to serve existing Russian customers. HSBC and BP are yet to sell their Russian businesses.
Philip Morris, maker of Marlboro cigs, said efforts to sell its Russian business had “stalled”.
It said it has a duty to shareholders to recover the value of the Russian business, which has been complicated by the Kremlin’s controls.
BT said it kept a presence in Russia to maintain connectivity, while Disney said some of its licensing took time to stop due to “contractual complexities”.
The MRA said: “Out means out. A promise is just a promise until it is honoured. Often companies say they will get out, but the devil is in the detail. Moral-washing must be called out.”
BAE: WAKE UP TO THREAT
THE boss of BAE Systems has called on the Government to match defence spending with the “elevated threat environment” since the war in Ukraine.
The firm, which makes Eurofighter Typhoon jets, combat vehicles, and nuclear submarines, said it had a record £37billion of new orders last year as governments around the world ramped up their spending after Russia’s invasion.
The boss of BAE Systems has called on the Government to match defence spending with the ‘elevated threat environment’
The firm makes combat vehicles
It also manufactures fighter jets
Charles Woodburn, BAE chief executive, told HOAR he would “await with interest the Spring Statement” on whether the UK’s budget would include an increase in defence spending.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said Britain’s own weapons stockpiles have fallen to historic lows.
Mr Woodburn said BAE had been increasing munition production to support Ukrainians and “backfill”, but said production of shells took around 18 months.
OCTOPUS ‘BOOST TO TAXPAYER’
OCTOPUS ENERGY is expected to argue in court next week that its Bulb takeover will result in £1.2billion profit for the Government, making it a fair deal for taxpayers.
The secretive nature of the takeover had been heavily criticised, particularly as it has emerged the Government provided a £4.5billion facility for energy-purchasing and a loan to Octopus.
The secretive nature of Octopus’s Bulb takeover had been heavily criticised
Rivals Centrica, Scottish Power and E.ON have said they were not aware of these terms when considering their own approaches for Bulb.
They have launched a legal case to demand transparency and scrutiny of the process.
Octopus will argue that as energy prices have fallen, the hedging support from the Government has only come to £1.76billion and Octopus will pay back £2.95billion.
The judicial review kicks off next Tuesday to Thursday.
SHOPS HIT TO THRIFT
BUDGET grocery ranges in supermarkets are rising in price faster than any other category — hitting shoppers with the least money hardest.
Value food lines are 21.6 per cent up in January compared with a year ago, Which? found, against the average food inflation of 16 per cent.
Middle-class shoppers moved to budget brands to save cash, but punters already buying budget do not have an alternative other than to cut back on how much they buy.
THE Government faces calls to cut taxpayer support for power firms after Drax posted an 84 per cent jump in profits to £731million last year.
Drax, which owns a power station in North Yorkshire, has received billions through renewable energy subsidies to bioenergy companies — but critics argue its burning of wood pellets to generate electricity is not eco-friendly.
Drax gets about £1.7million a day in taxpayer subsidies, despite its profits rising from £398million in 2021 on the back of high energy prices.
MORTGAGE and borrowing costs could become even more expensive after a Bank of England rate-setter pushed for interest rates to rise further.
Catherine Mann feels the Bank has been “insufficiently” aggressive in tackling inflation despite ten rate rises in a row and that it is too soon to loosen monetary policy.
She said: “I believe that more tightening is needed and caution that a pivot is not imminent.”
High interest rates typically encourage saving as borrowing becomes more expensive.
SHARES BOOST FOR ROLLS
ROLLS-ROYCE’S turnaround chances have been given a lift after a recovery in its flying division meant its profits trounced forecasts.
Shares in the Airbus A350 and Boeing 787 engine-maker jumped by a fifth yesterday after the business recorded a 57 per cent rise in underlying profits.
Rolls chief Tufan Erginbilgic set out a turnaround plan for the company – though the aviation industry is already recovering from Covid restrictions
The aviation industry is finally recovering from travel restrictions during Covid and now airlines are pushing for new planes.
Rolls chief Tufan Erginbilgic — who took over from Warren East in January — still set out a seven-point turnaround plan for the company to make “materially higher profit”.
He refused to rule out further job cuts to add to the 7,000 since the pandemic’s start, but said his strategy was “not slash and burn and go”.