Nestle, the world's largest food company, has severed all trade ties with the country of Azerbaijan. The company says it made this decision due to supply problems, which local sources attribute to corruption between the local distribution company and the Azerbaijan customs authority. Allegedly, Nestle refused to offer bribes or deviate from official tax payments in order to secure business, as many companies allegedly do in order to operate in the country. Azerbaijan ranks 143 out of 182 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index.
The corporate communications manager of Nestle Russia told Confectionery News that all Nestle products were suspended as of January 1, 2012, but that the company hopes to resume delivery to Azerbaijan "as soon as possible."
HuffPost Food reached out to Nestle headquarters for comment. We'll update this post if we hear more.
UPDATE: Marina Zibareva, Corporate Communications Manager for Nestle Russia & Eurasia provided the following statement:
Nestle has decided to suspend supply of its products to Azerbaijan as of January 1, 2012 due to delivery problems. The stock in trade will be enough to cover the consumers needs for Nestle products for a few months.
The company doesn't have the operational office in the country, we delivered products though the distributors.
The decision concerns with the Azerbaijan market only. Nestle products availability for other CIS markets is not affected.
The company takes all efforts to resume deliveries of products to Azerbaijan as soon as possible. We refrain from further comments on this stage.