Viciunai Group position on withdrawal from Russia

Viciunai Group position on withdrawal from Russia

We confirm that our position remains unchanged, we condemn the Russian aggression and the continuous military action in Ukraine, and we unequivocally support the freedom fighters of Ukraine.

We are determined to pursue the withdrawal from Russia in the legally approved and rational way - by selling the business to a foreign or local investor.  To accelerate the sale process, we have engaged the international professional services firm EY (Ernst & Young) to lead the business selling process.  Currently, Viciunai Group and the consultants for the sale of the business in Russia are in intensive contact with all potential buyers and provide financial and legal information related to the company's activities. According to the business sales consultants, the sale process is likely to be completed during the summer of this year.

"After the initial negotiations, it has become clear that Viciunai Group will sell to foreign investors the factory in Kaliningrad, together with the entire business structure and related assets," says D. Matijošaitis, a member of the Board of Viciunai Group. "We are confident that we will be one of the first manufacturers to withdraw from the Russian market. Not only those who have announced their intentions or started the withdrawal process but also those who have actually left Russia and completely terminated all business relations with Russia. The sales process usually takes about a year, so we are pleased that we started this process a long time ago and we are moving confidently towards the final stages."

During the negotiations, the potential buyers expressed the requirement that the factory in Russia must be fully operational: preserving the supply chains of raw materials, the jobs of the workers, and the production processes. This type of requirement is a common practice in the sale of a manufacturing business, together with the equipment, premises, market share, and, presumably, the brand name.

"Once the candidates have submitted their requirements, we understand that some of our competitors or people who are not familiar with the detailed information may have various questions related to transparency," says Dainius Matijosaitis, "The acquisition of raw materials is an ongoing process. Fish products depend on fishing seasons.  If the supply chain of raw materials will be stopped, it would take at least 3-4 months for the new owner to resume the operation of the factory. We understand the delicacy of the situation, but we are obliged to resume the supply of raw materials before closing the deal."

We would like to emphasize that the disseminated information about the receipt of funds from the Russian budget, cooperation with sanctioned banks, and relations with suppliers serving the Kremlin is false and untrue.

Recently, the Viciunai Group has been accused of exclusive cooperation with the Russian authorities. It is alleged that payments from the Russian budget are used to keep the Group out of Russia and to delay the process of leaving this market. We would like to clarify that companies in the Kaliningrad Free Economic Zone, including the Viciunai Group, are governed by the regulations of the FEZ, which regulates the creation of jobs and the promotion of business through subsidies. "Vichiunai-RUS“ benefits from these subsidies, as do other companies operating in the Kaliningrad FEZ. These are the business conditions of the free economic zone, which ensures foreign investment and jobs in Kaliningrad region.

We would also like to respond to the accusations of cooperation with the sanctioned banks VTB, Alfa-Bank, and Gazprombank. "The cooperation of the Russian companies of the Viciunai Group with these banks dates back almost 15 years when they were not subjected to any sanctions. The cooperation was launched in a normal, competitive manner, taking into account the commercial conditions for business financing. Under the commitment agreements concluded with these banks, settlements are currently being made in order to meet the company's financial obligations as soon as possible. No new contracts have been initiated with these banks in 2022.

The Viciunai Group is also accused of supplying its products to the conquered territories of Ukraine or to some special Russian facilities or entities, including the "Kremlin Buffet". This is not true.  We confirm that we do not have any sanctioned or otherwise scandalized clients on our client list, nor do we have any of the above-mentioned suppliers of the Kremlin buffet. However, we have no control over where our products are distributed by wholesalers or by our HORECA customers in major Russian cities.

"Since the beginning of the war, Viciunai Group has been supporting the Ukrainian freedom aspiration and helping freedom fighters", says Dainius Matijošaitis. Group companies have provided assistance in the form of cars and food. The latter has been provided until today. In Lithuania, we provide accommodation and food for war refugees, as well as work opportunities.

We would like to remind you that all products offered for sale in Lithuania or Ukraine are made in factories located in European Union countries.