Russian officials have called for chewing gum manufacturer Wrigley to halt the expansion of a processing plant in St Petersburg. The Russian natural resources ministry claims that the company, the largest gum producer in the world, has not carried out an environmental study.
The ministry has been trying in recent months to assert its influence by launching probes into Russian and western companies ranging from the oil to paper sectors. Some analysts fear that the environmental probes could scare off potential investors.
The US-based company claims that the ruling will not affect production at the plant, which is one of the largest in eastern Europe. It is hopeful that it will obtain approval for the expansion in the near future.
"This order does not relate to the existing production facility," said the company in a prepared statement. "Wrigley continues production at its existing St Petersburg factory in full compliance with all relevant rules and regulations."
Over 60 per cent of Wrigley's sales are made internationally, and the company sees Russia as a market full of potential.