Magna joins other Canadian companies in idling Russian operations over Ukraine war

TORONTO — Magna International Inc. is joining other Canadian companies in standing up against aggression in Ukraine by idling its Russian operations.

"Like most in the international community, we remain deeply concerned with the very unfortunate situation in Ukraine," spokeswoman Tracy Fuerst said Thursday in an email.

Magna has six plants in Russia and about 2,500 employees.

Although it doesn't have facilities in Ukraine, the company said thousands of Ukrainians work in its global operations, along with Russians it says share the same values of "human rights, diversity and inclusion."

Magna also says it is making a significant donation to the UN Refugee Agency and will match employee contributions.

The action comes a day after Kinross Gold Corp. said it was suspending all activities at its Udinsk development project in Far East Russia and is in the process of suspending operations at its Kupol mine.

Two other Canadian companies also took action in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Purpose Investments Inc. said Thursday it has divested all direct holdings of Russian companies and pledged to cease new investments as long as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine persists.

“Like so many Canadians, we have an undeniable urge to do all we can to support those who are suffering,” Som Seif, CEO and founder of the Toronto-based company, said in a news release.

“We took a stance many years ago to embed ESG factors into all our investments portfolios, and believe there is no better test on a firm’s ESG principles than this. We simply do not feel that it’s appropriate to have our clients’ capital supporting Russian companies or businesses that are engaged in direct business in Russia.”

Purpose has also called for the investment industry to support the divesting of Russian assets in their portfolios.

It said asset managers and pension funds representing over $200 billion in assets have made this pledge.

“By rallying the asset management and pension industries together, we can spread the message far and wide that we cannot and will not support tyranny and the suffering it causes," Seif added.

The Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments) also said it took steps last week to divest all its Russian investments.

"All residual positions will be written down to zero and PSP Investments is committed to exiting this market as soon as market conditions permit," it stated Thursday.

The Montreal-based company said it doesn't have material exposure to Russian investments and does not hold any private direct investments in Russia. Its exposure is mainly through passive index replication activities and external investment manager activities. 

PSP is one of Canada's largest pension investment managers with $204.5 billion of net assets under management as of March 31, 2021.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2022.

Companies in this story: (TSX:MG, TSX:K)

Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press