Arrival, the UK-based electric vehicle manufacturer founded by a former Russian government minister, is closing its Russian operations and has no plans to operate there in future, one of its top executives has said.
Tom Elvidge, executive vice-president of vehicle programmes, revealed the move on Wednesday at the Financial Times’ Future of the Car conference in London.
The company was founded by Denis Sverdlov, a businessman who was Russia’s deputy communications and mass media minister under President Vladimir Putin for 15 months until he resigned in 2013. Although he has spent most of his adult life in Russia, Sverdlov, who remains chief executive, was born in Georgia.
Arrival was valued at $13.6bn when it listed on the US’s Nasdaq exchange in March last year. The company is developing “micro-factories” in the UK and US and is focused on building electric delivery vans, buses and cars.
Asked whether the company might face sanctions because of Sverdlov’s links with Putin, Elvidge stressed that Sverdlov opposed the war and that the company was shifting its Russian operations to Georgia.
Elvidge said Arrival had “a team” in Russia but did not specify the nature of the operations there.
“Denis has spoken publicly and made his statements very clear that he’s against [the war],” Elvidge said.
Arrival had been moving its staff out of Russia to Georgia since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24, Elvidge said.
“We’ve transported now the majority of our team into Georgia,” Elvidge added. “We’ve set up offices in Tbilisi.”
It would take “a few more months” to complete the transfer, Elvidge said.
“We don’t plan to have any operations in Russia going forward,” he added.