Charles Koch poses for a 2019 portrait.
Wikimedia Commons/Gavin Peters
A flood of U.S. companies have announced plans to suspend, close or curtail activities in Russia following that country’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine, but one prominent conglomerate seems to be operating on a business-as-usual basis.
Koch Industries, the Wichita, Kan., company run by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch, has offered no statement on any plan to pull back from Russia, where it has several units that make industrial glass, electronic components, and products for the chemical and petrochemical and specialty chemical industries, according to the Popular Information newsletter.
The newsletter has closely tracked comments and statements made by those subsidiaries since the start of the conflict, starting with Guardian Industries, a company that Koch acquired in 2017.
Guardian, based in Auburn Hills, Mich., makes industrial glass and has two plants in Russia. On March 4, a Guardian spokesperson offered a comment to USGlass Magazine that suggested its employees in Russia are continuing to work.
“Guardian Industries continues to closely monitor the tumultuous events in Eastern Europe, supporting our employees who are affected. The health and safety of our employees and all personnel working at our facilities is our first priority,” said Alexandra Birladianu, head of corporate communication at Guardian.
Guardian Industries and Koch Industries did not respond to a request for comment from MarketWatch.
Koch subsidiary Molex, which makes electronic components and was acquired in 2013, also appears to be operating, based on letters posted in February and March regarding business continuity in the region.
The first notes that its logistics teams “are actively monitoring our existing land, sea and air carriers with routes traversing Ukraine and Russia. “
It continues to say that, “alternative route adjustments have been initiated to mitigate product disruptions between Molex and our customers.”
The March letter is identical but has exchanged the words Russia and Ukraine for the broader Eastern Europe.
Another subsidiary, Koch-Glitsch, part of Koch Engineered Solutions, has not yet publicly commented on the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Molex and Koch-Glitsch did not respond to requests for comment.
Last week, a slew of companies announced plans to pull out of Russia, some of them after Yale business-school professor Jeffrey Sonnenfeld published a list of those that seemed to have opted to remain in operation there.