The Russian branch of Ariston transferred to the management of Gazprom. The EU: “Moscow despises the rules”


By John

In an unexpected decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree for the temporary transfer of the Russian branches of the Italian Ariston and the German Bosch to the Russian Gazprom Domestic Systems, the company of the state-owned Gazprom group that produces household appliances. The decree, posted on the official portal for legal information, concerns Ariston Thermo Rus LLC, controlled by Ariston Holding, and BSH Household Appliances LLC, controlled by BSH Hausgerate GmbH. The reasons for the decision are not known.

However, since the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has placed the assets of a handful of Western companies under “temporary management”, justifying these moves as retaliation for other countries' actions against Russian companies, hit by sanctions. Last year, Putin signed another decree temporarily transferring the management of the Russian subsidiaries of Danone and Carlsberg to the federal property management agency, Rosimushchestvo.

The measure was adopted after the French and Danish companies had announced their intention to exit the Russian market. 98.56% of the shares of the Russian brewery Baltika, belonging to Carlsberg, and tens of thousands of shares belonging to Danone were placed under the control of the Agency.

In the case of Ariston and Bosch, however, the management is transferred, again “temporarily”, to another industrial group, although controlled by the government. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani spoke on the matter in the evening: «After the unexpected Russian Government decision on the management of Ariston Thermo Group – he wrote on ».

EU: “Moscow despises the rules, revoke measures on companies”

«Russia continues to take measures against EU companies operating in the country. A Russian company, part of the Gazprom group, has now placed subsidiaries of Italian and German companies under “temporary external management”. These measures, which target legitimate economic activities, are yet more evidence of Russia's contempt for international law and rules. Russia confirms itself as an unpredictable actor also in the economic field.” The EU External Action Service declared this on the Ariston and Bosch affair, inviting Moscow “to revoke these measures and seek acceptable solutions with European companies”.

Ariston: “Surprised by Putin's initiative”

Ariston Group, which has been active in the Russian Federation for almost 20 years «with very correct relations with local institutions, was not informed in advance of the decree» with which Putin temporarily nationalized the Fabriano group's factory yesterday, and is “extremely surprised by this initiative”. Ariston Group writes in a note. “While awaiting an explanation for this unexpected action – we read – we are evaluating its implications, including governance and managerial ones”. Ariston Group owns a dedicated water heating manufacturing plant located outside St. Petersburg (with approximately 200 direct and indirect employees), producing advanced, high-efficiency products for the domestic market, a center of excellence for local product development and a responsible commercial office in Moscow (which coordinates around 100 employees also active in local commercial branches throughout the Federation), all operating under the renowned Ariston brand”. The group generated “around 100 million euros of turnover in the Russian Federation in fiscal 2023 and had a significant asset base to operate in the local market, the result of almost two decades of investments”.