On Friday, Reuters reported that the costs for companies looking to exit Russia due to sanctions or political pressures are increasing, as Moscow has begun demanding that they increase the discounts on the prices of any assets they want to sell off as part of their exit.
According to an analysis of company filings and statements by the news agency, Western companies have endured losses of over $80 billion from their Russian divisions, due to write-downs and lost revenue.
According to the report, companies looking to exit their operations are forced to offer assets they sell at a 50% discount, as well as make a contribution to the Russian government budget of at least 10% of the sale price. According to Reuters’ sources, some deals had faced demands for even more discounts, before the government allowed them to go through.
In a statement, the Russian Finance Ministry told the outlet that it never forces final sales prices to be discounted, however it may make adjustments to valuations in the course of the sales process. The news outlet quoted the ministry as saying in a written response, “The price may change only in a case when the commission points out the incorrect valuation of a foreign business’ market value.”
The finance ministry also said that the appraisal of businesses is also reviewed by the nation’s economic ministry and the central bank, both of which have been involved in setting prices, and had the authority to make a correction to a price.
Aleksey Kupriyanov at Aspring Capital, said in an interview with Reuters that the exodus of Western businesses has proven to be an an enormous windfall for entrepreneurs in Russia, as well as both rivals and business partners of the companies which have chosen to exit the Russian market.
According to Yale University analysts, since the beginning of Russia’s military action in Ukraine, more than 1,000 Western companies have withdrawn from the Russian market, pressured by legal sanctions in many cases, and political pressure in some others.
In addition, the sanctions closed some traditional international trading markets to Russia, and made cross-border trade settlement more difficult by denying the country access to Western financial tools. As a means of adapting, Russia was forced to reorganize its international trade relationships, reorienting toward non-Western partners such as China and India, and shifting its cross border settlements towards local currencies, and other non-dollar mechanisms, such as the yuan.