France’s TotalEnergies exits Russian gas firm’s board

French energy group TotalEnergies is withdrawing from the board of Russian gas giant Novatek and taking a $3.7billion hit in the wake of sanctions against Moscow. TotalEnergies said in a statement that the two directors have had to abstain from voting in board meetings, “in particular on financial matters”, due to the European sanctions.“They are therefore no longer in a position to fully carry out their duties on the board which might become an issue for the governance of this company,” the French firm said.

“Under these circumstances, the Board of Directors of TotalEnergies has decided to withdraw the representatives of the Company from the board of PAO Novatek with immediate effect,” it said.TotalEnergies added that it will no longer account for its 19.4 percent stake in Novatek, leading to a $3.7 billion write-down in its fourth quarter accounts.

The French company said it cannot sell its stake in the Russian firm as, “it is forbidden for TotalEnergies to sell any asset to one of Novatek’s main shareholders who is under sanction”.