We don’t know much about it, but of all the international groups present in Russia, French companies are among the most dynamic. Thanks to them, France is the second largest direct investor in Russia. With more than 500 French subsidiaries established there, including 35 CAC 40 companies, they are even the largest foreign employer in Russia with nearly 160,000 employees throughout the country.
Among the big French names that are a hit in Russia, there are already those for whom being in Russia is obvious, such as TotalEnergies, which operates many oil and gas fields there. Total is a shareholder in Novatek, the first Russian independent producer of natural gas behind the public juggernaut Gazprom, which allows the French to participate in giant projects, some of which in liquefied natural gas on the borders of Siberia.
In the automobile sector, Renault is a safe bet in the Russian market, where it is the leader, with its Avtovaz brand, the owner of Lada. Russia is even the second largest market in the world for the manufacturer after France, and ahead of Germany. And there are those who are less expected, such as Leroy Merlin, who even ranks ahead of Renault, and who has been able to adapt to the expectations of local customers by focusing on the “made in Russia”, which offers very competitive prices. Today number 1 in DIY in Russia, it already has more than 100 stores in the country, and continues to open every year.
For now, it is difficult to measure theimpact of the sanctions we are talking about on French companies in Russia, but what is certain is that tricolor companies in Russia have seen others. They have already experienced the sanctions of 2014, following the annexation of Crimea, which did not prevent them from continuing to develop, driven by growth rates much higher than what they are experiencing in France.
Some are certainly more exposed than others like Engie, which co-financed the famous Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, suspended by Germany. Or Societe Generale, owner of Rosbank, which like others could be affected by the sanctions imposed on the Russian financial sector.