The decoupling of German industry from business in and with Russia is continuing at a remarkable pace.

This is costly for some of the companies that were active there.

Last week, the world's largest chemical group, BASF, had to write off 5.4 billion euros on its stake in the oil and gas production company Wintershall Dea.

Wintershall owned numerous oil and gas fields in Russia and is now aiming for "a complete, orderly withdrawal from Russia in compliance with all applicable legal provisions," BASF said.

Alexander Wulfers

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

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Initially, the chemical company stuck to its activities in the sanctioned country.

In the spring, BASF CEO Martin Brudermüller was one of the loudest opponents of a sudden decoupling from Russian gas.

But now the line is being drawn, explained Wintershall boss Mario Mehren.

According to Mehren, the investments in Russia were “de facto economically expropriated” because external interventions make it impossible to continue as before.

Due to their gas business and their stake in Nord Stream AG, BASF and Wintershall are among the companies whose business in Russia received the most attention last year.

But there are other names among the Dax companies that will probably have to write off their investments in Putin's empire.

Arne Rautenberg, portfolio manager at Union Investment, expects a rather small group of companies to be affected.

But for these few it will be expensive.

Henkel face billions in write-offs

The sporting goods manufacturer Adidas is one of these companies.

Adidas announced in October, still under ex-boss Kasper Rorsted, that it would do business in Russia and put the costs at just under 300 million euros.

It is still unclear to what extent depreciation is already included in this total.

Rautenberg sees the greatest danger for the consumer goods group Henkel, where depreciation could break the billion mark.

The Düsseldorf-based company had already announced in April that it was giving up its business in Russia.

Selling off the Russian investments is proving difficult.

Because of the sanctions, only a Russian buyer is considered.

In addition, says Rautenberg, the sale must first be approved.

The price expectations are probably far apart, which is why the company managed by Carsten Knobel still cannot get away from Russia.

None of the other companies is likely to come close to the magnitude of the BASF depreciation.

According to Rautenberg, Wintershall was the German company with the most exposure in Russia.

“Nobody else has put as much steel on the ground as Wintershall,” he says.

For other companies, it is primarily a matter of lost sales and not valuable capital.

Henkel itself contradicts Rautenberg's estimate: After the group had already written off 200 billion euros last year, the book value of the remaining business in Russia was only around 500 million, said a spokesman for FAS

At the same time, BASF's loss of billions on the stock exchange was of little consequence.

Although BASF's share price fell briefly, it also recovered relatively quickly.

This is not surprising for Arne Rautenberg.

The loss of corporate property in Russia had long been priced in on the market: “Nobody pays anything for a business in Russia anymore.

That's long gone from the rating."