BP, HSBC Lead Western Firms, Banks Dumping Russia
Energy giant BP, global bank HSBC and the world's biggest aircraft leasing firm AerCap joined a growing list of Western firms exiting Russia on Monday, as Western sanctions tightened the screws on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, Ron Bousso and Nerijus Adomaitis reported for Reuters.
Photo Insert: BP, Russia's biggest foreign investor, abruptly announced at the weekend that it was abandoning its 20% stake in state-controlled Rosneft at a cost of up to $25 billion.
The West has sought to punish Russia with a raft of measures, including closing airspace to Russian aircraft, shutting out some Russian banks from the SWIFT global financial network, and limiting Moscow's ability to deploy its $630 billion foreign reserves. Russia's economy was already reeling on Monday.
The rouble plunged as much as 30% to an all-time low, while the central bank doubled its key interest rate to 20%, kept stock markets and derivative markets closed, and temporarily banned brokers from selling securities held by foreigners to help limit losses.
BP, Russia's biggest foreign investor, abruptly announced at the weekend that it was abandoning its 20% stake in state-controlled Rosneft at a cost of up to $25 billion, cutting the British firm's oil and gas reserves in half and reducing BP's production by a third.
Others with stakes in Russian oil and gas projects, such as US firm ExxonMobil, France's TotalEnergies, and Britain's Shell, are believed to follow suit.
Equinor, the energy firm majority-owned by the Norwegian state, said it would start divesting its joint ventures in Russia, while Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest at 1.3 trillion euros, will also divest its Russian assets, worth around 25 billion Norwegian crowns ($2.8 billion).
Australia's sovereign wealth fund also said it planned to wind down its exposure to Russian-listed companies.
Leasing firms said they would terminate hundreds of aircraft leases with Russian airlines because of sanctions. Russia has 980 passenger jets in service, with 777 leased and 515 rented from foreign firms, analytics firm Cirium said. Ireland's AerCap Holdings, the world's biggest plane lessor with about 5% of its fleet leased to Russian airlines, said it would halt leasing to Russia.
Asian lessor BOC Aviation said most of its planes in Russia, or about 4.5% of its fleet, would be affected. US-based United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp., two of the world's largest logistics companies, said they were halting deliveries to Russia and Ukraine.
The EU has banned Russian media outlets RT and Sputnik, while Canadian telecoms operators also stopped offering the RT channel. Google has barred RT and other Russian channels from receiving money for ads on websites, apps, and YouTube videos, similar to a move by Facebook.