For years, Italy has been an important partner of Russia in the EU and remains so even now, staying one of the most liberal countries towards Russia. As of February 2022, about 500 Italian companies were permanently in Russia, 70 of which had manufacturing facilities, 68 banks, and several law firms. A hundred of the top Italian companies in Russia provided jobs for 34,000 people in Russia, generated $7.3 billion in annual revenue, and had $6.8 billion in capital and $7.6 billion in assets, KSE Institute reports. The most “dependent” on Russia, with a revenue share of more than 10%, have been Italian companies operating in three industries: Engineering, Food & Beverages, and Construction & Architecture.
The share of Italian companies has left Russia or committed to do so since the beginning of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine is on pare with those of Austria, Greece, and Hungary and is closer to the indicators demonstrated by businesses from Turkey, China, and India than from most European countries.
So far, only one of every five, or 23% of Italian companies, has left Russia, including two corporations that showed a clean break from the country – energy companies Enel and Eni. Out of the remaining 77%, only 16% have somewhat limited their activities. The rest of the companies – three out of every five – continue doing business as usual without even trying to create an impression of scaling back. For example, Luxurious brands like Ferrari and Lamborghini suspended exports to Russia and business activities in the Russian market, respectively. Meanwhile, well-known electronics companies Ariston, Candy, and De’Longhi continue operating in Russia.
This reveals the very slow pace of Italian companies leaving Russia, despite almost eight months into the devastating and destructive war. The B4Ukraine coalition calls on these businesses to rethink their strategy. While Italian businesses think that politics and business should not interfere with each other, reality shows that they are all connected. The war is itself much more than just politics. It is about the value of human life. We hope Italian businesses value human lives more than Russian profits and will accelerate their withdrawal from Russia.