International Paper sells Russian JV stake to local shareholders -Ilim Group

(Reuters) - Renewable fibre-based products manufacturer International Paper has sold its 50% stake in a Russia-based joint venture to Russian shareholders, its JV partner Ilim Group said on Monday.

Ilim named Ilim Global Timber Rus, owned by Zakhar Smushkin and Boris Zingarevich, as the buyer and said the transaction has obtained all required regulatory approvals.

Scores of companies have sold or abandoned assets in Russia since Moscow's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. British paper and packaging company Mondi on Monday said it had agreed to sell its largest plant in Russia to a unit of Moscow-based real estate developer Sezar Group for 80 billion roubles ($825.7 million) in cash.

Ilim, a leading Russian pulp and paper producer, said control over former JV assets had been transferred to the Russian shareholders as a result of the transaction.

International Paper and Ilim Group have been strategic partners within the JV since 2027. Ilim did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

International Paper could not immediately be reached for comment.

Russia has steadily tightened exit requirements since Western companies started leaving soon after Moscow began what it calls a "special military operation" in Ukraine and executives say navigating the rules is becoming harder.

($1 = 96.8850 roubles)

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by David Goodman and Louise Heavens)