Two Maine companies’ struggles with disengaging from Russia

After Russia’s unprovoked (and staggeringly barbaric) invasion of Ukraine, both of Maine’s largest homegrown multinationals were reluctant to sever their business relationships with Russia. I wrote about both of them last month for the Portland Press Herald.

The first, fuel payment services supplier WEX, had decided to maintain its decades-old service contracts with the North American arm of the Russian energy giant Lukoil on the basis of it not being in Russia. After my story ran they announced they were severing the relationship after all.

The second, veterinary medicine and medical diagnostics powerhouse IDEXX Laboratories, decided not to close its Moscow office, which before the invasion employed 18 and managed sales, instillation, and technical support of its medical equipment for Russian clients. It was also promoting its water systems testing gear via a Russian distributor. The company won’t answer questions directly and, after my story came out, decided to continue operating. They say they have a “significantly reduced” operation, but from their statements it appears these are just the reductions forced on them by U.S. sanctions, which are legally binding on the Westbrook-based company.

[Update, 6/26/22:] Four months after the invasion, IDEXX disclosed to investors via a compulsory SEC filing hat it was pulling out of Russia and liquidating its subsidiary there. The company did not make an announcement and did not respond to my inquiries. The wording of the statement made clear their earlier”significant reduction” of operations allowed for continued sales and marketing of testing inputs and operation of their Russia offices.