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Canadian French fry giant McCain Foods Ltd. has sold its Russian potato production facility, completing the company’s exit from Russia.

McCain Foods began construction on the plant in 2021 at an estimated cost of $212-million, about 200 kilometres south of Moscow in the Tula oblast (administrative division).

This latest corporate exit from Russia was part of a large exodus driven by both moral concerns of Russian aggression and punishing international sanctions that severely restricted the travel of goods, people and capital in and out of the country.

McCain halted construction on Feb. 24 when Russian forces invaded Ukraine and announced two weeks later it was abandoning the project. The company also ended shipments to Russian markets and says it has no plans to resume.

On Thursday, McCain said it had completed a sale of the facility to a local buyer.

“This brings an end to McCain operations in Russia,” Charlie Angelakos, vice-president of global external affairs and sustainability at McCain, said in a statement. “Our thoughts continue to be with those affected by this ongoing crisis.”

A report in the French newspaper Le Monde published on Thursday said McCain had already spent about $80-million in Russia and the value of the sale was for a “symbolic” amount. Michelle Hann, a spokesperson for McCain, confirmed these details to The Globe and Mail. McCain would not identify the buyer.

McCain added that the Russian market made up less than 5 per cent of its $11-billion global annual sales.

McCain is a major global supplier of French fries to the McDonald’s fast-food chain, which also left Russia and sold off its properties there in a high-profile exit.

The first locations of the Russian-owned replacement for McDonalds opened in June. The franchise was renamed Vkusno i tochka, which translates as “Tasty and that’s it.”

With a report from Reuters

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