FMC Corp., the Philadelphia chemical giant focused on agriculture, has closed its Russian business that accounted for about 1% of FMC’s global revenue or $50 million, the company said.
Many companies have scaled back or stopped their businesses in Russia, but that isn’t true for FMC’s big agribusiness competitors like BASF and Syngenta, which have significant business supplying seeds and chemicals to the country’s massive food industry, Politico has reported.
Ukraine and Russia are both grain powerhouses. And crop production is not subject to various sanctions placed on Moscow. Companies say humanitarian concerns over food availability for Russian citizens and other countries justify their continued presence in Russia.
Among the giants, Swiss agrochemicals group Syngenta employs around 800 people in Russia and 730 in Ukraine. It said in late March it has no plans to withdraw from Russia, Reuters reported in late March.
FMC, meanwhile, operated a plant in the Russian town of Cheboksary, about a 10-hour drive east of Moscow, that formulated and packaged crop protection products for Russia and Kazakhstan. The company employed 83 workers and 20 contractors.
FMC described the exit, announced on April 14, as simply walking away from the plant.
The company said that reports of war crimes and human rights abuses led to the decision after initially suspending new capital investments, marketing, and advertising and discontinuing research and development.
“Our values as a company and the realities of unprecedented sanctions no longer allow FMC to grow our business in Russia,” Mark Douglas, the company’s chief executive officer, said in a statement. “FMC condemns the invasion and war and we join calls to end the violence immediately,” he added.
FMC, which acquired DuPont Co.’s pesticides business in 2017, was committed to helping farmers protect their crops and yields, the company said.
FMC, based in a University City tower, said it has raised $270,000 globally for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent in Ukraine.
FMC has 36 employees in Kyiv. They are still employed but working remotely. “We have been checking in on them regularly and we hear they’re OK,” FMC spokesperson Lars Weborg said.
FMC’s stock has risen by about 15% over the last year, going from $113 to close at $132.65 on Friday.