Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree in July to take control of French yoghurt maker Danone’s Russian subsidiary along with beer company Carlsberg’s stake in a local brewer.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has also said it plans to exit its joint venture in Russia with Turkey’s Efes.
Asked if the experiences of Danone and Carlsberg had increased the urgency for Heineken to do a deal, van den Brink told reporters: “Our concern went up but not the urgency. It showed there was a real risk of nationalisation and all you could do was seek to be master of your fate.”
He would not go into details as to why the search for a buyer took longer-than-expected, calling the process “highly complex”.
“We are happy we found a suitable buyer. We believe it is a reliable party … We are happy this process comes to an end and to be able to leave Russia,” he added.
Heineken had seven breweries in Russia and 1,800 employees, who will receive employment guarantees for the next three years.
The Dutch brewer removed its Heineken brand from Russia last year and production of Amstel is to be phased out within six months.
Heineken said the deal, with no option to buy the business back, included a three-year licence for some smaller regional brands, for which Heineken would not provide brand support or receive any proceeds.
Arnest Group owns a major can packaging business and is the largest Russian manufacturer of aerosols, as well as selling cosmetics and household goods.
Heineken said the transaction will have a negligible impact on its full-year outlook.