Atlanta-based FleetCor says ‘nyet’ to Russia business, sells interests

It is one of a few American companies that didn’t leave Russia after the war on Ukraine began

Atlanta-based FleetCor Technologies, a global business payments company that was one of a handful of American companies that didn’t leave Russia after the war on Ukraine began, has announced the sale of its Russia operations to an investment group in that country.

The company, which did not disclose the details of the deal, was one of the American firms that resisted calls to leave Russia in February, 2022, after the country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. That war, expected by many to end quickly in a Russian triumph, still continues.

In a brief public statement issued Tuesday, company Chief Executive Ron Clarke said, “We concluded the sale of our Russia business this week and are now completely out of the market.”

FleetCor did not provide a reason for making the decision.

After the Russian invasion, the U.S. government imposed sanctions against Russian individuals and entities, actions aimed at damaging the country’s military, energy projects and its efforts to collect sensitive material and exploit the international financial system to pay for the war, according to the U.S. State Department.

More than 1,000 American companies have stopped doing business in Russia, about two-thirds of those tracked in a recent accounting, by the Yale School of Management.

At the time of the Russian invasion, FleetCor said that the company had about 600 employees working in Russia and had the priority of supporting employees and their families “while also minimizing disruptions to our customers.”

About 600 FleetCor employees are still part of the Russia business, “the vast majority of them” Russian citizens, a company spokesman said Wednesday.

The 37-year-old company provides a number of ways to make payments, including fuel cards, providing services worldwide. FleetCor’s customers include private firms, oil companies, petroleum marketers and governments.

FleetCor summarizes its services as the ability to “automate, secure, digitize and manage payment transactions on behalf of businesses.”

The company overall has a 10,000-person workforce. Last year, FleetCor had revenues of about $3.4 billion and net income of $1.2 billion.

Simultaneous with its announcement of the Russia sale, FleetCor said it was launching a $450 million program to repurchase its own stock. The company did not say why it was undertaking the buyback.

FleetCor stock was trading at just under $263 a share in mid-morning Wednesday, down about $1.50.

Its high during the past year came last week when shares crested at $268.31. It hit a low of $167.26 in October.

Just prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, FleetCor shares were selling for just over $233. The stock’s all-time high came in early 2020, before the pandemic, when FleetCor stock sold for $320.63 a share.