Russia Seizes Over 650,000 Acres Of Farmland And Other Assets From Company With Ties To ‘Unfriendly’ Country

In a significant escalation of its retaliatory measures against “unfriendly” states amid heightened geopolitical tensions, Russia has seized assets of the agricultural holdings company AgroTerra Group. The move, announced on April 8, 2024, has sent shockwaves through the agricultural sector and raised concerns over food security and international trade relations.

President Vladimir Putin’s decree places Dutch-registered firms AgroTerra Investments B.V. and AgroTerra Holdings B.V. under the “temporary management” of Rosimushchestvo, Russia’s federal property management agency. This action follows a series of similar asset seizures targeting Western companies, including multinational brewer Carlsberg and dairy giant Danone, which have sought to divest their Russian operations in response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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AgroTerra, founded in 2008, is a major player in the agricultural industry, specializing in the production and supply of commodities such as soybeans, wheat and sugar beet. The company is recognized as one of the top 20 largest owners of agricultural land in Russia, with a cultivated area of approximately 265,000 hectares (654,829 acres).

The decree’s impact on AgroTerra’s operations remains uncertain. A spokesperson for the company stated, “As of now, the Company has not yet received any further details regarding the decree on the transfer of shares within the authorized capital of the AgroTerra Group to the temporary management of Rosimushchestvo.” Despite the lack of clarity, the company has assured that it is continuing its operations as usual, with a primary focus on the ongoing sowing campaign.

This seizure is part of a broader trend of Russia targeting foreign-owned assets in retaliation for sanctions and other measures taken against Russian companies abroad. In April 2023, Putin signed an executive order allowing Russia to take over real estate, securities, property rights and other assets from foreign companies with ties to “unfriendly countries.”

The implications of these actions extend beyond the affected companies and their shareholders. They pose a threat to the global agricultural supply chain, potentially disrupting food production and exports. Furthermore, the move could exacerbate tensions between Russia and Western countries, further complicating efforts to resolve the conflict in Ukraine and stabilize international relations.

As the situation unfolds, the agricultural industry and global markets will be closely monitoring the repercussions of Russia’s asset seizures and their impact on food security, trade and diplomatic relations.

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