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Danish beer giant loses landmark Russian case

Court allows Baltika Breweries to use certain Carlsberg Group brands

The Russian court has satisfied a claim by Baltika Breweries allowing it to continue to use the beer brands of its former partner, the Danish brewer Carlsberg, according to a post on Russia’s information portal Digital Justice.

The Arbitration Court of St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region has declared invalid a unilateral termination of licensing agreements from 2013 by Carlsberg Group with its former Russian unit, Baltika Breweries, for the production and sale of the group’s products, including international and local brands.

“The claim is satisfied in full,” the court decision published on the portal states.

Baltika Breweries filed a lawsuit in October trying to keep Carlsberg from breaking a licensing contract for the use of some popular brands in Russia after the Danish brewer left the country’s market.

The Russian government took temporary control of Carlsberg Group’s Russian unit Baltika in August, transferring the business to the Federal Property Management Agency. In response to the transfer, Carlsberg tore up its licensing agreements with Baltika in October.

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Beer giant terminates license agreements in Russia

In response to the lawsuit, the court took interim measures and prohibited the Federal Service for Intellectual Property Rospatent from registering the termination of Baltika’s rights to the brands Tuborg, Kronenbourg, Seth & Riley’s Garage, Holsten and LAV.

Carlsberg operated eight production facilities in Russia before announcing its exit from the country in March 2022 amid Western sanctions on Moscow.

Last year, the group took a $1.5 billion write-down on its Russian subsidiary, Baltika. Under a Russian presidential decree, the Danish brewer retained ownership of the unit but no longer had any control or influence over it.

Baltika had established itself as one of the most prominent brewers in Russia before its acquisition by Carlsberg. According to the company’s website, Baltika Brewery started out as a state-owned enterprise; it started producing beer in November 1990 under the well-known Zhigulevskoe, Rizhskoe, Admiralteyskoe and Prazdnichnoe brands; privatization, new technology and foreign investment made it Russia’s most popular beer by 1996. Carlsberg became the 100% owner of Baltika in 2012.

For more stories on economy & finance visit RT’s business section

December 20, 2023 at 12:21PM
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