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  • Privatization Starts Up
  • Bilingual Website, Transparent Auctions Draw Buyers
  • Abromavičius to Leave Ukroboronprom?
  • IMF Mute on Ukraine’s Report Card
  • Will Kyiv Be In a Red Zone?

Privatization of big state companies could bring $1 billion to national budget in coming years, Prime Minister Shmygal told the Cabinet of Ministers Wednesday. After a pause during the initial market turbulence of the coronavirus pandemic, sales of big state companies started last week with auction on Prozorro.Sale of Kyiv’s Dnipro hotel for $41 million. This year, the government plans to raised $435 million through sales of state property, half through ‘small privatization’ – under $10 million – and half through ‘big privatizations.” Shmygal said: “We have high expectations from large-scale privatization.”

By the end of this year 780 state companies should be transferred to the agency responsible for privatizations, the State Property Fund, Dmytro Sennychenko, head of the Fund, tells the UBN. This would be eight times the number shifted to the privatization agency in the previous 15 years. About 40% of these companies are not viable and have to be liquidated, he estimates.

To attract foreign investors, Sennychenko, a former Ukraine director for Jones Lang LaSalle, has set up a bilingual Ukrainian-English website with ‘data rooms’ on each property up for sale. Sennychenko admits that major properties have ‘poison pills’ – management, supplier or labor contracts that are hard to break. “We don’t have the capacity to fight all the poison pills in 1,500 properties,” he says. Instead, his team works to provide as accurate picture as possible of the assets and liabilities of each property. The buyer of the Dnipro Hotel publicly praised the Fund for its transparency.

Following the sale of the Dnipro, the Fund is putting up two regional hotels up for auction. The high end Slovyanskyi Hotel in Novgorod-Siversky, Chernihiv region has a starting price of $2 million. Separately, on Aug. 14, an auction will be held for a half-built, 274-room hotel on Railroad Square, Slavutych, 180 km north of Kyiv. The starting price is $200,000.

Next week’s lot of 34 ‘small privatization’ properties is the usual mixed bag of abandoned properties dating back to the Soviet era. Scattered across 15 regions, they range from a half-finished distillery with an asking price of $42,000 to a padlocked garage with an asking price of $439. As the concept grows of finding private uses for excess government property, the number of participants in privatization auctions has doubled, says Sennychenko. In the first five months of this year, these mini-sales netted the government $18 million.


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Aivaras Abromavičius, head of Ukroboronprom, is signaling he is ready to move on. Noting that he took the job running the state arms conglomerate last August, he told a Kyiv School of Economics roundtable Wednesday: “I have been in this position for 11 months — and it is three or four times more than I planned, and what were my agreements personally with the President.” Abromavičius, a former Economy Minister, said that during his year running Ukroboronprom he replaced about one quarter of the top 260 people, replacing all the deputy general directors and the heads of almost 30 of the largest companies.

Military transport jets, notably the An-178, represent the most promising niche for Antonov, Abromavičius told Channel 24 last month, shortly after firing the head of the state aircraft maker. “Together with the new management of Antonov, we will make every effort to ensure that in 2021 our military and police purchase at least two An-178 transport aircraft,” he said. Noting that Antonov is now building one An-178 for Peru’s National Police, he said the company is participating in a tender to sell a second plane to Peru and is pursuing potential sales in Azerbaijan, India, and Turkey.

Western standard corporate governance of state companies is a key demand of the IMF under the $5 billion Standby Agreement reached last month. On Wednesday, the IMF’s representative to Ukraine declined to answer a question on whether the program is on track. “I will refrain from answering,” Goesta Ljungman, the representative, said in an online discussion. “We have a program with Ukraine. In that program, Ukraine has made a number of commitments.” In response, Finance Minister Serhiy Marchenko assured Reuters: “Ukraine continues to fulfil its commitments under the IMF memorandum.”

Matteo Patrone, EBRD regional managing director on corporate governance reform: “This is now a negative period in corporate governance reform. But I believe that this is a small pothole on a very long road that is headed in the right direction…Incorrect corporate governance narrative, illogical legislative initiatives, as well as some interference in asset management, are things we would love to do without.”

Timothy Ash writes from London: “The Zelenskiy team will need to work overtime to provide assurance to the IMF to keep the existing program on track. The IMF resident rep’s diplomatic response I think reflects Fund concerns over recent developments at the [central bank] and question marks now [about] where all this is heading.”

Ukraine will be divided into four quarantine zones – green, yellow, orange and red. “Kyiv will be in between the orange and red zones,” Oleh Ruben, head Food Safety and Consumer Protection in Kyiv, tells RBC Ukraine news agency. The division of the nation will be decided by a public safety commission headed by the Prime Minister. In red zones, public transport, schools, universities, shopping malls, cafes, and restaurants should be shut down. Health Minister Stepanov says: “Regarding the crossing of the border between the ‘red’ and ‘green’ zones within the country, traffic will be limited in the ‘red’ zone, appropriate posts will be set up at the crossing.” Zone designations will be reviewed weekly.

Concorde Capital’s Zenon Zawada writes: “We don’t expect the government to take any measures towards restrictions. The main issue is Ukrainians will remain forbidden to travel freely to the E.U. for the remainder of the summer, which is contributing to the Zelenskiy administration’s falling support.”

The EU graduates 11 new countries into its admission club. Ukraine, with its rising corona infection rate, did not make the cut. In two weeks, the EU again will review its list of nationalities permitted to make non-essential travel to the EU. Without a decisive turnaround, the Ukraine is expected to be off the list for all of August. The EU wants to see a lower infection rate than its own and a declining rate of infections.

 

  • Bounce Back: Ukraine’s Economy in 2021
  • Foreign Demand Dries up for Hryvnia Bonds
  • Bond Upgrade for UZ…Ukraine Tops US in Pig Iron Production
  • Government Plans to Expand Road Building Next Year
  • Summer Vacation Choice: Egypt or Turkey?

Ukraine’s economy will bounce back next year, recovering the losses of 2020, according to the government’s official 2021 macroeconomic economic forecast. The economy will drop by 4.8% this year. Then, it will grow by 4.6% next year. Alluding to forecasts of a steeper drop this year, Prime Ministry Shmygal said: “Despite various pessimistic forecasts, our baseline scenario remains: GDP will fall by 4.8% in 2020, and from 2021 onwards gross domestic product will grow by 4.6%.”

As a sequel to the government printing money to stimulate spending and investment, inflation will triple, rising to 7.3% in December 2021, from 2.4% last month. The hryvnia will devalue 5% from current levels, averaging 29.1 hryvnia to the dollar in 2021. Through 2023, imports will increase by 22%, to $86 billion, and Ukraine’s trade deficit will increase by 63%, to $17 billion, according to the forecast approved by the Cabinet of Ministers.

Bidding was weak for hryvnia bonds offered in the Finance Ministry’s weekly auction on Tuesday. While two hryvnia bond offerings drew a total of five bids, there were 29 bidders for 1-year dollar bonds offered at 3.5%.

Concorde Capital’s Evgeniya Akhtyrko writes: “The larger financial community still sees high uncertainty related to the future trend of the hryvnia exchange rate…market players haven’t ruled out that the National Bank of Ukraine can resort to fostering the hryvnia’s depreciation in order to please those power brokers who believe that a weaker hryvnia can help economic revival.”

Last week, the National Bank of Ukraine sold $350 million to halt the slide of the hryvnia. Easing the demand for dollars and helping the hryvnia, most Ukrainians are vacationing inside the country this summer. According to Finance Ministry figures, since the start of the year, foreign holdings of hryvnia bonds have dropped by 20.5%, or $850 million.

S&P upgraded the long-term credit rating of Ukrzaliznytsia to B- from CCC, reversing its downgrade of three months ago. Triggering the upgrade, Ukrainian Railways announced Monday that it has renegotiated its $200 million loan from Sberbank Ukraine. The two events pushed up prices of the state railroad’s Eurobonds yesterday by 4-5 points.

Concorde Capital’s Alexander Paraschiy: “Sberbank debt restructuring is probably the most important event for Ukrainian Railways in 2020. Sberbank’s loans accounted for half of the total debt that the company was scheduled to repay this year ($402 million) and two-thirds of debt due in 2H20 ($294 million). The prolongation of such debt significantly improves the company’s financial stability.”

During the first half of this year, Ukraine surpassed the US to become the world’s 9th largest producer of pig iron, or crude iron,  according to Worldsteel Association. Ukraine edged out the US because Ukraine’s pig iron production dropped by 2.6%, to nearly 10 million tons, while US production dropped by 26%, to 8.5 million tons. The world’s top eight producers are: China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, Iran, Brazil and Germany. China’s pig iron production during the first half of the year was 500 million tons – more than the combined total of the next 10 countries.

China’s hunger for Ukrainian iron helped Lemtrans boost cargo carried in the first half of this year by 26% yoy, to 25 million tons. Lemtrans, Ukraine’s largest private operator of rail wagons, enjoyed a 54% jump in iron ore cargo, to 12.6 million tons, or half of overall cargo. Lemtrans and other owners of rail wagon fleets hope the Zelenskiy government will fulfil its promise to allow private freight trains on Ukrzaliznytsia tracks this year.

US-based GE Steam Power has been selected by Ukraine’s AtomRemontServis to provide three years of maintenance for two of Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants, Rivne and Khmelnytsky. “Through this new service agreement, we are expanding our long-term nuclear service capabilities into Ukraine,” Paul Wise, Europe Region General Manager for GE Steam Power, reports Nuclear Engineering International.

The EBRD plans to lend Ukrposhta €53 million for a €102 million program to buy mobile post office vans for rural areas and to build automated sorting hubs for Kyiv, Lviv and Dnipro. The European Investment Bank plans to lend €30 million and the state postal company plans to complete the project financing with €19 million of its own money, reports EBRD.

Next year, the government plans to repair or rebuild 7,000 km of roads – two thirds more than this year, reports Alexander Kubrakov, head of Ukravtodor, the state highway agency.  For comparison, the drive from Sumy, on the Russian border, to Uzhgorod, on the Slovak border, is 1,150 km. With three months to go in this year’s road paving season, contractors have completed work on 26% of the 4,200 km target. In addition, Ukravtodor is repairing or rebuilding 100 bridges this year, part of a 5-year, $1 billion program.

In the worst outbreak of Covid-19 in Kyiv to date, the virus has swept through a crowded student dormitory at Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, infecting 87.5% of the 152 students living there. Of the 133 infected students, 10 are hospitalized. This pocket of infection in western Kyiv helped boost that national total over 1,000 again, to 1,022 new cases reported yesterday morning.

With one month left for summer vacations, Egypt and Turkey are the only easy options for a vacation outside Ukraine. Both countries do not require corona testing for arriving travelers. And passengers flying into Ukraine from both countries do not have to self-isolate.

Travelers returning to Ukraine from Albania, Bulgaria, and Montenegro have to go into self-isolation pending negative results of tests. Since Thursday, Ukrainians can only enter Bulgaria with a negative result of a test taken within three days of travel. A similar rule applies for Croatia Ukraine’s Health Ministry maintains an index of ‘Red Zone’ countries where the rate of recent infections is more than 40 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Ukraine, the overall infection rate is 66.7 per 100,000.

Passengers can now take coronavirus PCR tests at Kyiv Sikorsky airport. The testing point is next to the first-floor medical center of Terminal A. The test costs $60, results are emailed to passengers, in case of a negative result, the clinic removes the passenger from the Diya self-isolation app. Similar test clinics now work at Kyiv Boryspil, Kharkiv, Lviv and Odesa airports.

UIA is adding two additional flights between Kyiv Boryspil and New York’s JFK in August. The flights leave Kyiv on 11:25 am on Monday mornings – Aug. 24 and Aug. 31. The jets fly back from JFK on Monday afternoons. This week, UIA is offering two flights between Kyiv and the US – to New York on Friday, and to Miami on Wednesday. Tickets can only be bought through the UIA website at https://www.flyuia.com/ua/en/home.

 

  • Ukraine Becomes No. 2 Supplier of Organic Food to EU
  • Kernel Boosts Grain and Sunoil Exports
  • EU Lockdown Squashes Ukraine Snail Farms
  • China Wins Visa-Free Tourism to Ukraine

Ukraine has grown to become the second largest supplier of organic food to the EU, according to a new official report, ‘EU imports of organic agri-food products: key developments in 2019’. Ukraine is in first place for supplying the EU with organic grains – 77% of the market. It is second place for oil crops — 18%. And in third place for fruit -11%. The top five suppliers of organic food to the EU are: China – 13% market share; Ukraine – 10%; Dominican Republic – 10%; Ecuador – 9%; and Peru – 7%.

With half of the wheat threshed and three quarters of the barley harvested, Ukrainian farmers have harvested this summer 22 million tons of grain. This year’s harvest is expected to be 70 million tons, down from last year’s 75 million tons. Much of the mammoth corn harvest is still ripening in the fields. This year, Ukrainian farmers planted over 5 million hectares, almost the size of Ireland.

Kernel, Ukraine’s largest grain exporter, increased its grain exports by 30% yoy, to 7.9 million tons in the marketing year that ended in June. With this volume, Kernel handled 14% of Ukraine’s total exports last year of 56.5 million tons.

Ukraine’s sunflower oil exports grew by 24% during the first half of this year, compared to January-June last year. The $2.7 billion in sunflower oil sales accounted for 27% of all food exports during the first half of this year.

Sunflower seeds were, once again, Ukraine’s most profitable crop, hitting 23.5% according to date from the State Statistics Service. In general, profitability was down across the board, reports Yuri Lupenko, director of the Institute of Agrarian Economics. He said: “The decline in profitability of crop production was mainly due to falling sales prices – a total of 8.8% for the year.”

Irrigation of 500,000 hectares of farmland would boost national agricultural production by 8-10 million tons, estimates Igor Petrashko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Agriculture. With Soviet-era irrigation systems falling apart, private farmers will only invest in irrigation if they own their own land. Without financial structures in place to allow private investment in irrigation, southern Kherson runs the risk of the kind of desertification seen in neighboring Crimea.

With food Ukraine’s largest export, the government will recreate the Agriculture Ministry in September, President Zelenskiy says. Last September, Zelenskiy moved to create an economic ‘super ministry’ – a move that did not work out.

Potato Agro plans to build one of Ukraine’s first processing plants for French fries, Konstantin Sarnatsky, company CEO, tells Potato News Today. The company markets its products under the brand Bestpotato. Next year it plans to have 1,000 hectares seeded in potatoes. The company has a newly completed $3 million warehouse capable of storing 12,000 tons of potatoes.

The EU lockdown is crimping Ukraine’s once booming snail farming industry, reports AFP. From 250 tons in 2018, Ukrainian snail farmers had expected to produce 1,000 tons this year, almost all for export. But with the restaurant business down sharply across Europe, orders have fallen to Ukraine’s 400 snail farmers.

The ‘Green Tariff’ law is now on the desk of President Zelenskiy, awaiting his signature. Last week, a procedural block was lifted and Rada Chairman Dmytro Razumkov signed the bill. The law would cut wind tariffs by 7.5% and solar tariffs by 15%. It also gives the ‘Guaranteed Buyer’ 18-months to pay all its overdue bills from renewable electricity producers.

Air travel will return to 2019 levels in 2024, predicts the International Air Transport Association. World air travel was down 86.5% yoy in June, an improvement over the 91% drop in May. IATA said the improvement “was driven by increased demand in domestic markets, especially in China.”

Ukraine’s number of air passengers this year will be one third the level of 2019, predicts Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krikliy, who oversees transportation. Although flight frequencies have been radically reduced, no airline has announced they are abandoning Ukraine routes, he said in Poltava. Citing low fares, Krikliy encouraged Ukrainians to fly in August, saying: “Democratic prices are quite competitive for both domestic and international transportation.”

To revive tourism, Egypt is cancelling tourist visa fees for Ukrainians and is limiting its resort hotel occupancies to 50%. Last year, 1.7 million Ukrainians – about 5% of the nation’s population – vacationed in Egypt.

Since Saturday, Chinese tourists are able to enter Ukraine visa-free for one 30-day period every six months. President Zelenskiy says the goal isto develop friendly relations between Ukraine and China, as well as to intensify bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism.” Once the corona pandemic dies down, Kyiv hopes UIA will restore its flight between Boryspil and Beijing and that a Chinese airline will start service between China and Ukraine. Since Saturday, similar visa rules apply to visitors from Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Kuwait and Oman.

The EU will remain closed to most travel from Ukraine through mid-August, according to the latest update of ‘Red zone’ countries – those with high coronavirus infection rates. The EU updates the travel ban every two weeks.

Betting that EU travel restrictions will drop, Ryanair will start flights in October between Odesa and Athens and Barcelona. With these flights, Ryanair will fly to 12 EU cities from Odesa. By March, Wizz Air plans to fly to 11 foreign cities from Odesa. After a decade of work, Odesa has completed its new terminal and runway.

Two new airlines are being created in Ukraine: Bees Airline and Skhid-Zakhid (East-West), Evgeniy Khainatsky, the former SkyUp CEO, tells Turprofi, a Ukrainian tourism industry newssite. “After overcoming the viral crisis, Ukrainian investors, oddly enough, had a desire to invest in aviation,” says Khainatsky who stepped down from SkyUp two weeks ago. Stressing that he is not involved in a new airline, he says: “And we are not talking about one investor, it turns out that there are many of them, and in several startups at the same time.”

 

  • Toot! Toot! 40 GE Locomotives on Track for Ukraine
  • Freight Dip Mirrors Recession
  • Pivdenniy Port Grows to Handle 40% of Ukraine’s Sea Trade
  • Asia Buys Half of Ukraine’s Expanding Grain Exports
  • Ukraine Can Feed China, Starting with Blueberries
  • While UIA Shrinks, SkyUp Adds Two More Boeings

Ukrzaliznytsia is negotiating with GE Transportation a potentially $200 million deal to supply up to 40 diesel locomotives, Ivan Yuryk, acting CEO of the state railroad, tells NV Business. Last year, the US company completed the supply of 30 locomotives, made with 10% local content. Under a 2018 contract, the second batch of locomotive was to have 50% local content. Separately, UZ is holding an international tender for the supply of 200 electric locomotives through the 2020s.

Iron ore for China, grain, and gravel for road building got Ukrzaliznytsia through the April-May downturn, Yuryk tells NV Business in a separate story. “Export of iron ore to China is the only thing that we held on to during the crisis,” he said, referring to ore shipped to the Black Sea ports. At the bottom, in May, cargo was down 20% yoy. It is now down 5%. The railroad may record $500 million in losses this year.

UZ has restructured $200 million in debt that due to be paid on Friday to Sberbank (Ukraine). In addition to stretching repayment of this debt over three years, “the company plans to further refinance the debt in the international capital markets or with one of the domestic Ukrainian banks,” the railroad reported.

During the first half of this year, freight carriage was down 16% over the same January-June period of last year, reports the State Statistics Service. The fall to 275 million tons breaks down as follows:

  • Trains down 10%
  • Trucks down 24%
  • River down 12%
  • Air down 6%
  • Pipeline down 22%

 

At the seaports, port operators increased tonnage by 10%, to 79 million tons. Exports were up 9%, import were up 13%, and transit was up 13%.

Of the ports, Odesa Region’s Pivdenniy increased its lead as the nation’s busiest sea port, handling almost 40% of Ukraine’s seaborne trade during the first half of this year. Pivdenniy’s increased its cargo handing by one third yoy, to 31 million tons. Number two Mykolaiv fell 6% to 14.4 million tons. Falling slightly were Odesa – 12 million tons – and Chornomorsk – 11.9 million tons. The two Azov ports saw healthy growth. Mariupol was up 27%, to 3.2 million tons. Berdyansk was up 64%, to almost 1 million tons.

Ukraine’s exports of grains, legumes and flour increased by 13.5% in the recently completed marketing year, compared to the same July-June period last year. The exports of 57.2 million tons are a record, says the Institute of Agrarian Economics. The big three crops were: corn — 30.3 million tons; wheat — 20.5 million tons; and barley — 5.1 million tons.

During the first half of this year, Asian countries increased their purchases of food from Ukraine by 14.5%, to almost $5 billion. This is almost half of Ukraine’s food exports, calculates the Institute of Agrarian Economics. In the first half of 2020, the top three buyers were: China — $ 1.4 billion; Egypt — $789 million; and India — $743 million.

Ukraine can help feed China, Olha Stefanishyna, deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, told China’s new Ambassador Fax Xianrong in Kyiv on Friday. She said: “We are ready to meet China’s growing demand for high-quality food and Ukrainian agricultural products, including flour, apples, sweet cherries, chicken meat, fish, and legumes.”

China has opened its market to Ukrainian blueberries, fresh and frozen, reports Ukraine’s  Service for Food Safety and Consumer Protection. Ten Ukrainian berry producers have already registered for exporting to China. Separately, Singapore has opened its market for Ukrainian processed pork and chicken meat, reports the Food Safety Service.

A new China-Kyiv container train – passing through Mongolia and Russia – will become weekly, reports Gudok 1520, a Moscow-based railroad news site.  Alexander Polishchuk, director of Kyiv’s left bank freight depot in Liski is quoted saying: “In the future, it may be two trains a week or even more, up to four.” Ivan Yuryk, the Ukrzaliznytsia head, is quoted saying: “We will negotiate with businesses regarding the possibility of exporting to China. We would like to show that this is a faster and more economically profitable route than the sea route.”

As Ukrenergo’s Guaranteed Buyer, or GarPok, heads toward bankruptcy, the agency owes $628 million to solar and wind energy producers. With some debts dating back to February, the power purchasing agency has paid 27% of its bills to private solar and wind companies and 58% of its bills to the state nuclear and hydro power producers.

Betting on the return of air travel, Ukraine’s SkyUp Airlines plans to receive two Boeing 737s by the end of this year, Dmitry Seroukhov, acting CEO, tells the Center for Transportation Strategies. By the end of this year, Ukraine’s low cost carrier will have 13 aircraft – 11 Boeing 737 NG and 2 Boeing 737-900 ER.

UIA currently uses eight of the 29 aircraft it has based at Boryspil, Sergei Fomenko, the airline’s vice president for commercial activities, tells the Center for Transportation Strategies. Depending on the evolution of health restrictions, UIA hopes to use 26 aircraft this fall. The airline has six Boeings stored outside of Ukraine.

 

  • French Shipbuilder Signs Deal to Provide 20 Fast Border Patrol Boats
  • Nibulon Plans to Boost River Cargo
  • China Wants to Upgrade Dnipro Locks and Ports
  • Europe Loans €100 Million for Nuclear Safety
  • Corona Infections Hit 1,000 a Day; EU Barriers Stay High

French shipbuilder Ocea has signed a €136.5 million contract with Ukraine’s Border Guard Service to provide 20 fast patrol boats by 2023. Fifteen of the 32-meter boats will be built at Ocea’s Atlantic shipyard, about 100 km south of Saint-Nazaire. The other five will be built at Nibulon’s shipyard in Mykolaiv. The aluminum boats have a range of 1,200 nautical miles, roughly the equivalent of Ukraine’s coast line, from Izmail, on the Danube, to Mariupol, on the Sea of Azov.

The international joint venture highlights Nibulon’s emergence as Ukraine’s most modern shipbuilder. Oleksiy Vadaturskyi, Nibulon’s general director, said at the signing ceremony: “We are reviving the Dnipro, building the Ukrainian fleet, and doing everything to make Ukraine a maritime country — not a country by the sea.” The French Treasury is providing most of the financing, and Jeantet, the French business law firm, is advising on the deal.

The EBRD is loaning Nibulon $27 million to maintain river cargo development projects and grain trading at a time of cash flow squeeze during the economic downturn caused by coronavirus. The financing is part of the EBRD Solidarity Package, which aims to ensure continuity of key businesses during the pandemic.

Nibulon launched its second harbor pusher tug last week, part of plan to build four over two years. Equipped with powerful Scania engines, the 80-ton tugs are used for mooring and pushing 3,000 dead weight ton barges through shallow waters. The Nibulon shipyard also is making smaller tugs and river barges. Nibulon has a fleet of 77 vessels, almost all for river work.

Nibulon aims to transport up to 5 million tons of river cargo this year, a 30% increase over the last July-June marketing year. During the year that ended in June, Nibulon carried 3.8 million tons, up 9% over the previous marketing year. Cargo is largely grain, iron ore, coal, building materials, but also Kherson watermelons. About 85% of Nibulon’s cargo is for export. Anchored in the mouth of the Dnipro, the Nibulon Max, a new 140-meter floating crane, allows for the high speed, simultaneous pumping of grain from two barges into a seagoing mother ship.

Li Jingyuan, vice president of the China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co., has signed an agreement with Igor Sheverdin, acting chief of Ukrvodshlyakh, or Ukraine Waterways, to develop Ukraine’s inland waterways to facilitate trade between Ukraine and China, now Ukraine’s largest trading partner. Aimed at the Dnipro, Dnister and Danube, the memorandum of understanding signed July 15 in Kyiv called for “attracting investments, technologies and best practices for the implementation of infrastructure projects on inland waterways in Ukraine.” At the ceremony, Infrastructure Minister Vladyslav Krikliy said Rada adoption this fall of the Inland Waterways bill “will make river logistics efficient and allow transporting large-sized cargoes, saving millions on road repairs.”

The Finance Ministry will use $846 million of last week’s $2 billion Eurobond placement to buy Eurobonds maturing in 2021 and 2022, the Ministry reports. This about $100 million more than expected.

Energoatom, Ukraine’s state nuclear power company, has received a €100 million tranche of a loan from Euratom, the European Atomic Energy Community. Under agreements made in 2014, Euratom and the EBRD are each loaning Energoatom €300 million to implement safety measures at Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power plants. Nuclear supplies about half of Ukraine’s electricity.

Privatbank says its former owners laundered $760 million in the US, according to an amended lawsuit filed last week in a Delaware court, reports RFE/RL. In the original lawsuit filed last year, the new management of Ukraine’s largest bank charged the former owners, Igor Kolomoisky and Gennady Bogolyubov, of laundering $623 million. After the bank was nationalized, in 2016, Ukraine’s central bank accused the former managers of channeling 90% of loans to the owners’ companies.

Skepticism about the Zelenskiy government’s ability to reform Ukraine was the common theme of two articles in the Western press. “A hard road ahead for Zelenskiy in Ukraine: Sympathy for the president in western capitals and the IMF is now tempered by concern,” headlines an opinion piece by Tony Barber in the Financial Times. “Corruption in Ukraine: Is time running out for Zelenskyy to reform the country?” asks the headline of a piece in Euractiv. The reporters quote Maxim Nefyodov, former head of Customs, saying: “The time for reforms in Ukraine is over. The signal that the government is now sending to people is this: being a reformer means that you will be harassed, get bad PR and that you will have no political future.”

Austria will not allow entry of Ukrainians – and citizens of 31 other countries with high corona infection rates, such as the US and Russia. Ukrainians with Austrian residence permits must show a certificate of negative results from a test taken 72 hours before arrival.

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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