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  • NBU Report Exposes Lockdown’s Effects
  • Govt. Approves Oschadbank plan to Pay Record Dividends
  • Agroton EBITDA up 14x
  • AV Hotel & Hub Completes Expansion
  • Pandemic Doesn’t Deter Tourists from Traveling to Kyiv
  • Estonians Cry Foul After Skymall Saga

 

According to the business activity expectations index (BAEI), Ukrainian businesses have downgraded assessments for their April performance and future prospects in response to the stricter quarantine and growing uncertainty (NBU). In April 2021, the index again moved below its equilibrium level of 50 points, to 46.9, down from 51.4 in March.

In April 2021, enterprises across most of the surveyed sectors reported worsened outlooks of their business performance. The indices of the industrial, trade and services sectors moved below their neutral levels. Meanwhile, construction companies reported optimistic expectations for the first time since September 2019.

Whilst not yet recovered to the levels of productivity in 2013, industrial enterprises again worsened their estimates of business performance. The sector’s index was 49.8 in April, down from 52.3 in March. Industrial companies expected a surge in raw material and supplies prices and selling prices, while remaining upbeat about the number of new orders and the amount of goods manufactured. Respondents from industrial companies said that the number of new export orders would remain unchanged.

Trading firms also revised their outlook of their performance as the sector’s DI dropped to 48.9 in April, from 52.2 in March. Respondents expected a decrease in the amount of goods purchased for sale. With firmer expectations of a rise in purchase prices, trading firms reported stronger expectations of a rise in the price of goods purchased for sale and a decrease in the trade margin. At the same time, respondents expected a slight increase in trade turnover.


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The services sector was hit hardest by the stricter quarantine, significantly worsening business projections. “Respondents expected a drop in the amount of services provided, the number of new orders, and the amount of services being provided, while also intending to raise their selling prices,” the NBU report said.

Construction companies reported positive expectations for the first time since September 2019 on the back of a seasonal rebound in activity and rising investment demand for housing construction. The sector’s index finally moved above its equilibrium level in April, to 51.5, up from 40.6 in March. Respondents expected an increase in construction volumes, the number of new orders, purchases of contractor services, and purchases of raw materials and supplies. Companies across all sectors expect a rise in selling prices on the back of higher raw material and supplies prices. They also report no intentions to expand their workforces.

Oschadbank’s plan to disburse UAH 2.776bn has been approved by the Cabinet of Ministers. UAH 832.897 million (30%) will be allocated to the state Budget for the payment of dividends, UAH 1.8 billion (65%) to cover the accumulated losses of previous years, and UAH 138.8 million (5 %) will go to the state’s Reserve Fund.

In 2020, Agroton increased its net profit by 2.3 when compared to 2019 to $11.76 million, and its EBITDA increased by 14.6 times to $33.04 million, the company has revealed. Its revenue increased to $67.55 million, while gross profit was up 3.2 times, to $ 32.91 million. The assets of “Agroton” last year increased by 5.1% – up to $ 120.34 million.

AV Hotel & Hub, Ukraine’s most innovative hostel with imported capsules that is modeled after the popular Japanese trend, has opened up a new location near the Golden Gate metro station. It is also greatly expanding its existing AV Hotel branch located at Bohdana Khmel’nyts’koho St, 58А in Kyiv to boost guest capacity.

Kyiv was visited by 116,000 foreign tourists in the first quarter of 2021 reported the press service of the Kyiv City Administration. The largest number of foreign tourists came to the capital from Belarus – 10,500 visitors. In second place are tourists from Israel – 8,900 people, in third from Turkey – 8,300. The list of countries from which the most foreign tourists came also included the USA, India, Germany, Great Britain, France and Georgia. According to preliminary estimates, 300,000 domestic tourists also visited Kyiv during this period.

Estonian shareholders of Arricano Real Estate Plc registered in Cyprus, the management company and developer of a number of shopping and entertainment in Ukraine, have demanded $750 million in compensation for what they say is the illegal seizure of Sky Mall in Kyiv. According to the press service of Arricano, after filing the notification, the parties have six months to settle the dispute before arbitration. If the parties fail to agree within the specified period, Estonian investors will apply to international investment arbitration against Ukraine” Interfax-Ukraine has reported.

 

 

  • Eight New Export Markets Opened
  • Agricultural Sales Look Optimistic
  • Firefly Aerospace Scores Big Investors
  • Naftogaz Situation Continues

 

Over the past six months, eight new international export markets have been opened for Ukrainian enterprises.  This included 63 commodity items were registered in eleven countries and several international economic organizations, Interfax-Ukraine reports citing the State Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection.

Markets outside the existing EU region have opened up including Japan, Libya, Argentina and Lebanon for Ukrainian exporters of milk and other dairy products. Domestic producers were able to supply eggs to Ethiopia, animal protein to Serbia, and cattle to the UAE. The Lithuanian market is now open for the export of insects used in crop protection.

In addition these new markets, Ukraine now exporting 63 commodity items to 11 states and international economic organizations. The first being exports to CIS countries which are now subject to new trade rules that come in force from April 13, 2021 in the field of veterinary medicine.  This has replaced an agreement between CIS countries which was signed back in 1993. Also, due to changes in the terms of trade, new agreements were renegotiated with Singapore and South Korea,” said a government spokesperson.

The most promising markets for exports from Ukraine are the European Union, China, Singapore, India, Vietnam, South Africa and Indonesia, said the State Consumer Service in a recent announcement of the continuation of work to expand existing markets across continents.

An important priority for us is to work on opening new markets for the export of Ukrainian products. After all, these are new jobs and income to the state budget from taxes,” said the Export Chief, Vladislava Magaletskaya.

Aerospace firm Firefly, owned by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, raised $200 million in investments as the result of the first round of venture funding. The company’s value has exceeded $1 billion, according to a press release from Firefly.

Major Firefly shareholders includes Dada Holdings, Astera, Canon Ball, Reuben Brothers SMS Capital Investments. Astera spokesman Jed McCaleb will now join Firefly’s Board of Directors.

The company says that by the end of 2021 it hopes to raise another $300 million. They want to start a new round of attracting investments after the launch of the Alpha rocket, which is planned for July 2021.

Firefly Aerospace is a privately held aerospace company that provides space transportation services from low Earth orbit to the moon. Firefly offers launch, space travel and landing on the lunar surface using the Alpha, Beta, SUV and Blue Ghost platforms and participates in NASA space projects. In 2017, after bankruptcy, the company was bought by Ukrainian businessman Maxim Polyakov via the Noosphere Ventures investment fund. Firefly Aerospace offices are located in Austin and Dnipro. The main production of rocket assemblies is in the state of Texas, with part of the equipment is also being developed in Ukraine.

Former Naftogaz Chief Andriy Kobolev denies accusations of allegedly creating a hole in the 2021 state budget estimated at UAH 10 billion. “We understand that they were counting on our money – for 10 billion UAH. Our plan was to replace dividends with one or another payment (the technology can be discussed – from government bonds to” advancing dividends “) in the amount of 32 billion UAH. The plan, which I communicated the Prime Minister and the President, they know about it,” he said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

The board ex-head stressed that on the date of his dismissal, the company had more than $2 billion of free funds on its account, and 7 billion cubic meters of natural gas owned by Naftogaz in underground storage facilities. Thus, with the financial plan, which, unfortunately, was not approved for us for this year, we were going to ensure the safety of the next winter, ensure all investments in production and transfer, in addition to all standard tax payments, another UAH 32 billion,” he added.

The company had a very difficult conversation with the Ministry of Finance, “which accused us that we are hiding some money and are not showing something,” according to Kobolev. “As a leader who thinks about winter and other big challenges, such as hindering the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2, I understood the need to plan our activities in order to ensure that Naftogaz is financially balanced. What is security for next winter? It’s enough money. Out of $2 billion, we are UAH 32 billion, that is, more than $ 1 billion were ready to transfer the budget in one way or another … Therefore, when they say“ Kobolev, you have too much money”, then, firstly, it is not with me, but in the state-owned company Naftogaz. Secondly, this money is needed to perform important tasks: production, security of supplies, projects and other things.”

 

 

  • Zelenskiy Blasts Western Leaders
  • Securities Regulations Streamlined
  • Metinvest Looks at DMC Acquisition

 

After a state visit to Poland on May 3, President Zelenskiy slammed western leaders for being “insincere” and refusing to provide enough money and vaccines. Writing on Facebook, he said, “The European Union is about equality. Not just statements, but real actions. And for equality, sincerity is necessary”

With no end in sight to the pandemic, which has left tens of thousands dead and threatens even more, Zelenskiy said “Ukraine was among those who did not ask, but, on the contrary, gave a helping hand”: our doctors traveled to different countries of the European Union to save the sick together with local exhausted doctors. He also mentioned the planes that Ukraine provided for the delivery of protective equipment “to itself and to others.”

“Ukraine received too little of the promised vaccines, and I reminded everyone that equality is about concrete support when it is most needed. The pandemic began more than a year ago. And for seven years Ukraine has remained a real, not a metaphorical outpost of Europe. War takes our people, eats up our economy, and ravages our Ukrainian territories. But this is a threat to the whole of Europe,” Zelenskiy criticized.

“And although we are not yet EU members, we are already being spoken to as equal members of the European family. Therefore, today Ukraine came to greet Poland with the Constitution Day on May 3 – the document that served as the basis of Polish democracy. And therefore Ukraine signed the joint declaration of the five countries, where it is clearly stated that Europe is our common home and should be built on the principles of freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy, the rule of law, equality and solidarity. Share such values,” he added.

The National Bank has simplified regulations for Ukrainian companies seeking to issue debt securities on the international market, the NBU said. The following amendments were introduced: “transactions to distribute income on and redeem Eurobonds as well as other issuer transactions for the purpose of placing such securities were removed from the list that is subject to a EUR 2 million annual limit; foreign currency can be bought to be deposited on the own account of the issuer with a Ukrainian bank until the maturity date of liabilities under Eurobonds.”

The Ukrainian economy requires additional funds for development more than ever. One of such sources is international loans. The regulator observes increasing interest of Ukrainian companies to the possibility to attract foreign funding, including through Eurobond placement. The amendments approved by the NBU will streamline the terms and conditions for raising funds and increase capital inflows into the Ukrainian economy and promote the country’s investment potential,” said Yuriy Heletiy, NBU Deputy Governor.

Metinvest’s desired acquisition of the Dnipro Metallurigcal Plant is drawing attention from Ukraine’s antimonopoly regulator. “The Committee is considering the case of concentration in the form of indirect acquisition by Metinvest BV Netherlands of assets in the form of an integral property complex, which together provide economic activities for the production and sale of metal products belonging to PJSC “DMK”. Case and assessment of the impact of the declared concentration on the competitive environment in the involved commodity markets, the Committee established the presence of possible negative effects on the market for commercial pig iron,” Interfax-Ukraine reported citing the AMCU. The main shareholders of Metinvest are SCM Group and Smart Holding.

Kyiv agrees to boost cooperation with Warsaw in order to strengthen border infrastructure, Prime Minister Shmygal wrote on his Facebook page. “For Ukraine, it is strategically important to strengthen partnerships with our Polish neighbors. In this context, we discussed regional security issues against the background of the escalation of the conflict from Russia. Poland provided us with effective support, for which he thanked him personally. Mutual cooperation in this direction will allow increasing trade between the countries, eliminating smuggling schemes and equipping as many modern checkpoints as possible,” the Prime Minister stressed.

Ukrainians purchased and registered over 10,000 new passenger cars in April, or over the next 3 years, Ukravtoprom has reported. The demand for new cars has increased by 11% since 2020. This is due to the low starting point caused by pandemic related restrictions in place last spring. The market leader is Toyota, while Renault has moved down to the second place.

 

 

  • Oversubscribed $1.25bn Offering
  • Oschadbank to pay Record Dividend
  • UZ Under Fire
  • MHP Cruises on
  • Farmak Gifts KSE

 

Ukraine has successfully completed a $1.25 billion Eurobond placement at 6.875% maturing in 2029, the Ministry of Finance announced. Joint Book runners included BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs International and JP Morgan. “The funds were transferred to the account of the State Treasury of Ukraine and will be used for general budgetary purposes,” said the Ministry.

Reflecting high demand for Ukraine assets among global investors, the offering attracted over $3.3 billion from 223 investors. The investor base included asset management firms which accounted for 84% of the issue, followed by hedge funds at 9%, insurance and pension funds at 5% and banks at 2%.

Investors from the United Kingdom, the United States and the EU comprised the bulk of demand for the offering – 42%, 34% and 21%, respectively. Investors from Asia and MENA accounted for 3%.

Oschadbank will pay a record-setting dividend to the budget, the state-owned bank said in a press release to investors. Sergei Naumov, the Chairman of the Board of Oschadbank, wrote “The reporting year 2020 was full of turbulent events that shocked the whole world. The global crisis associated with the pandemic caused unprecedented challenges in all areas of our life. I am pleased to state that despite all the difficulties Oschadbank coped with these challenges with dignity managed to ensure the stable operation of the financial institution, as well as to maintain the trust of more than 7 million customers.“

Ukrainian Railways is under intense scrutiny by the Temporary Investigative Commission of the Verkhovna Rada, which said that the company has performed unsatisfactorily, VSK head and MP Yulia Grishina announced on Facbeook.  The body intends to appeal to the Cabinet of Ministers to dismiss the company’s acting head, as well as some members of the company’s board.

Fitch Ratings revises Ukrainian Railway’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating, senior unsecured debt, and its SPVs on Rating Watch Negative, the agency announced on April 29. The change reflects the company’s weakened liquidity position, according to the agency’s assessments. As of April, Ukrainian Railway’s liquidity coverage ratio, calculated as available undrawn lines of credit and cash/scheduled repayments, was less than 1x. “The company’s immediate liquidity position is insufficient to offset expected repayments of a local bank loan (USD116 million or equivalent UAH 3,225 million) maturing on 30 May. The company’s available immediate liquidity (as of 26 April 2021) is UAH 3,130 million,” according to Fitch.

Ukrainian Railways continues to be effected by the Covid-19 pandemic shock to Ukraine’s economy, including a GDP contraction of 4.2% in 2020, ongoing lockdown measures and currency depreciation. “We project the economy to rebound in 2021 with growth of up to 4.1%, but there are material downside risks to our forecasts, given the uncertainty around the duration of the pandemic. Accordingly, UR’s main revenue driver (the freight segment) has been negatively affected in 2020 with significant downside risk to the pace of the recovery in 2021,” Fitch has assessed.

Fitch Ratings affirms MHP’s long-term issuer default rating in foreign and national currencies at “B +” with a stable outlook. The Long-term Local Currency IDR of MHP SE at ‘B +’ reflects a growing share of profits outside the country, as well as a strong business profile of MHP with a reasonable scale and vertical integration, which leads to high operating profitability“, – stated in the message by Fitch. Fitch stressed that MHP has a strong business and financial profile, in line with its peers in the ‘BB’ rating category, but the operating environment in Ukraine limits its long-term IDR.

The confirmation reflects our expectation of a recovery in EBITDA which has been driven by higher poultry prices after a significant drop in 2H 2019 and 2020. Together with the expected rebound, profit in the crop sector, which was hit hard in 2020 by adverse weather conditions in Ukraine, this should lead to a reduction in the share of borrowed funds in 2021-2022,” said Fitch. The agency expects EBITDA margin to rise to 17.2% in 2021 from a historic low of 15.6% in 2020.

Farmak, a leading Ukrainian pharmaceuticals company, will donate $500,000 to the Kiev School of Economics (KSE) to fund a new campus and improve existing programs, the company said in a press release. “By supporting such projects, we are contributing to the achievement of the Global Sustainable Development Goals, one of the tasks of which is to improve the quality of higher education and ensure its close connection with science,” said Volodymyr Kostyuk, Executive Director of Farmak.

Ukrainian business is entering a new level of corporate social responsibility, and this should become an example for others. Thanks to the support of companies such as Farmak, we are preparing the ground for a strong and innovative Ukrainian economy,” said KSE President Timofey Milovanov.

 

 

Upcoming events:

JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar

“Ukraine’s Infrastructure: New Opportunities”

May 25, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)

Speaker: Volodymyr Yaremko, Councel, FCI Arb, SAYENKO KHARENKO

Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:

https://www.jointchambers.ch/jcc-events/jcc-ukraine-chapter-webinar-269.html

 

JCC Ukraine Chapter Webinar

“Ukraine’s Agribusiness: New Opportunities”

June 17, 2021 (14:00-15:00 CET)

Speaker: Gebhard Rogenhofer, Wurzelwerk GR GmbH

Moderation: Sven Henniger, Partner, Henniger Winkelmann Consulting

Weitere Informationen und Anmeldung unter:

https://www.jointchambers.ch/jcc-events/jcc-ukraine-chapter-webinar-250.html

The original English version is from our partner UBN – Ukraine Business News. For more information and news archive, go to: www.ubn.news.

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