that is being developed by Turkish Aerospace Industries, or TAI. With the Ukrainian 2,500 hp turboshaft engines, the attack helicopters will be produced by 2023, said TAI President Temel Kotil, according to Defense Express.
, reported Meduza, the Russian-language news site based in Latvia. Vadim Rabinovich, a pro-Russia Ukrainian Rada member, wrote on Facebook that the visit could be a “countermove” by Beijing in response to Ukraine’s nationalization of Motor Sich. Chinese investors in the aircraft engine factory are fighting the nationalization, with muted support from Beijing.
State Security agents yesterday broke up a ‘shareholders meeting’ in Zaporizhia of Chinese and Ukrainian investors claiming ownership of Motor Sich, the helicopter and jet engine giant. On Friday, President Zelenskiy came down decisively on the side of the US, placing 3-year sanctions on four Chinese companies close to the Beijing government and on Wang Jing, the head of Skyrizon Aircraft Holdings, the main Chinese investor company.
Two weeks earlier, Wilbur Ross, then US Commerce Secretary, added Skyrizon to a list of companies classified as prohibited military end-users, saying its activities threaten U.S. national security. Ross said: “Skyrizon — a Chinese state-owned company — and its push to acquire and indigenize foreign military technologies pose a significant threat to U.S. national security and foreign policy interests.”
Before sending agents to break down the doors of the meeting, Ukraine’s State Security agency, or SBU, warned Sunday that it “is documenting the facts of preparation for the destruction of the production facilities of the company.” For three years, the SBU has sought to block the takeover of Motor Sich, noting the China has a military helicopter production contract with Russia, a country that is waging a proxy war against Ukraine.
Ukraine’s “actions are a barbaric robbery and a serious violation of the legal rights and interests of Chinese companies operating abroad, an unprecedented disrespect for the principles and rules of international trade,” Skyrizon warned angrily in a press statement Saturday. “Sanctions against the company are erroneous and stupid actions that can only scare away potential investors from all over the world from Ukraine, finally drive the already dying aviation industry of Ukraine into a desperate situation.”
Skyrizon vowed to proceed with its $3.5 billion suit against Ukraine. China last year became Ukraine’s large trading partner. Ukraine’s two-trade with China through October was $12 billion. By contrast, Ukraine’s trade with Russia and with Germany was $6 billion. After Washington moved against Skyrizon, China’s Ministry of Commerce said the United States was using “all kinds of excuses” to suppress Chinese companies abroad.
Skyrizon’s Ukraine partner, DCH Group of Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, was more cautious, saying yesterday that “leading law firms” had concluded that “the Chinese investors are bona fide buyers and legal owners of the acquired shares in PJSC Motor Sich.” However, the Kharkiv group concluded: “All further actions of DCH will be carried out considering our interest in the development of the Ukrainian aircraft industry and exclusively in the legal field.”
Companies from several NATO countries, including Turkey, have looked at purchasing parts of Motor Sich, a conglomerate that employed 21,000 workers a decade ago. When the war broke out between Ukraine and Russia in 2014, Motor Sich lost its biggest customer and has been struggling ever since. Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Friday: “I do not see any connection between the situation with Motor Sich and the general investment climate in the country.”
IKEA opens its first bricks and mortar store in Ukraine today, at Kyiv’s Blockbuster Mall, the company announces on Instagram. The store will be the first in SE Europe new ‘city format’ – 5,000 square meters, instead of the usual 30,000 square meters. The Swedish furniture retailer has tried to enter Ukraine for the last 15 years. It was blocked first by corruption then by construction delays at Ocean Mall. Last May, IKEA started an internet store and was immediately overwhelmed. Since it opened distribution points in three Kyiv shopping centers: Auchan Rive Gauche, Metro Cash & Carry and Lavina Mall.
French sportswear brand Decathlon opens this spring its third store in two years in Kyiv. With the new store, Decathlon will have 8,500 square meters of retail space in Kyiv – in Prospekt mall, Lavina Mall, and Retail Park.
Last Monday, the first day after the January lockdown, about 300,000 shoppers visited Epicenter shopping centers around Ukraine – up 50% yoy, reports the Epicenter K press service. Best sellers were household chemicals and personal care products – up 170%. “The surge in trade in the first days is quite expected, because during the three weeks of lockdown we constantly received dissatisfied feedback from customers who were not able to buy the necessary goods,” said Vladimir Goncharov, deputy director general of Epicenter K, Ukraine’s largest retailer.
Despite the harsh spring lockdown, Foxtrot achieved a 20% growth in sales of its retail electronics last year, Foxtrot CEO Alexey Zozulya reports. On line sales grew strongly, with 9 million people visiting Foxtrot.ua. Half of online buyers took advantage of the new ‘self-pickup’ service at Foxtrot stores. Sales through all channels registered this growth: smartphones +14%; TVs +28%; computer equipment +67%; and laptops +80%.
Marriott International expects to open its first Sheraton in Ukraine, at Kyiv’s Olympiysky complex, by the end of this year, according to a press release. Delayed for a decade, the hotel project received new impetus last fall when the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation approved a $27 million loan for completing the hotel. The 14-story hotel will have 196 rooms and underground parking for 144 cars. The building stands at Velyka Vaslkyivska 55, between the sports stadium and the Olimpiyska metro on the Blue line. One kilometer to the north is Marriott’s other hotel in Ukraine, Aloft Kyiv, at Esplanadna 17.
The Kyiv City Council has made a preliminary decision to expand Sikorsky’s airport’s lone runway by 22%, to 2,810 meters. This would allow larger aircraft, such as Airbus A321, to land at Kyiv’s Right Bank airport, historically known as Zhuliany. Potentially, this would mean flights arriving from as far away as Bangkok.
Russia-controlled Donbas has virtually closed itself off from Ukraine-controlled Donbas, according to figures cited by the Kyiv Post. From 250,000 weekly crossings in January, 2020, the number of weekly crossings fell to less than 1,000 last month. Closures that started last March to contain coronavirus have become permanent. Of seven crossing points, five are closed and two, one for Donetsk and one for Luhansk, work shortened hours, only allowing crossings by people with ‘special permits.’ “Bars are open, clubs are open, the border with Russia is open, the only thing closed is the crossing points into Ukraine,” ‘Darya, a young mother, tells Post reporter Oleksiy Sorokin. “Everyone knows (the militants) are just making money on it.”
Highlighting Ukraine’s emerging role as the EU’s reserve labor pool, Ukrainians accounted for 55% of the 1.2 million first time residence permits granted last year to all non-EU citizens for work in the EU, according to a new Eurostat report. Last year, 660,000 Ukrainians received these first time work-related permits, a 19% jump over 2018. This was 13 times greater than the next labor source – India, with 50,000 – and 16 times the third ranked country – Belarus, with 41,000. These numbers do not count Ukrainians who are in the EU on long stay visas or the back and forth flood of informal workers who take advantage of the 90-day visa-free regime.
The bulk of the 756,548 Ukrainians who got first time residency in the EU last year went to Poland – 79%. Spreading into the Baltics and around Central Europe, Ukrainians accounted for the top nationality of foreign workers granted residency in eight EU nations: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Finland, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. In contrast to the fast growth of Ukrainians, EU ‘initial residence permits’ issued to all nationalities for all reasons increased last year by 6%, to 3 million.
With cross border traffic expected to rebound this spring, assuming vaccines diminish the coronavirus pandemic, EU nations are helping Ukraine upgrade its often outdated border crossings. In coming weeks, EU and Ukrainian experts are to complete a comprehensive survey of Ukraine’s border crossings with its seven land neighbors. Once reforms are adopted the EU “will support their implementation to enable border management agencies to offer better service delivery to people, promote regional cooperation, cross-border trade,” the EU’s mission to Ukraine said yesterday of the 3-year project.
Poland is lending Ukraine €100 million to upgrade the 13 land border crossings between the two nations. The 30-year, low interest loan also will help upgrade Ukraine’s road and rail approaches to the 535 km long joint border. Yesterday, the Rada finally approved enabling legislation for the loan. It was first agreed upon five years ago.
Estonia will help Ukraine install two electronic border crossing systems at two of Ukraine’s busiest land crossings – Chop with Hungary, and Uzhgorod with Slovakia. Using Estonian experience, the goal is to cut lines of cars and pedestrians, according to an agreement signed Friday by Estonia’s Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas, and Ukraine’s Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal.
Brazil and Ukraine, two of the world’s second tier arms exporters, started discussing possible joint ventures yesterday, the start of a 5-day visit to Ukraine by executives of 13 from Brazil’s top arms producers. Led by Brazil’s Deputy Defense Minister Marcus Dego Rosas Pontis the delegation includes representatives from: Avibrás, Embraer, Imbel, Taurus, Kryptus, Atech, Condor, Nitroquímica, SLO3, Inspirar, Nanonib, Senai Cimatec, and Akaer. The Brazilians discussed with their Ukrainian counterparts joint production and modernization of battle tanks; missile systems and air defense equipment; cybersecurity, ammunition, small arms, drones, aerospace, radar and satellite systems.
This week’s face to face meetings follow a video conference two months ago with the participation of UkrOboronProm executives and Rosas Pontis, who is Brazil’s director of Secretariat for Defense Products. “It will be a two-way road,” Ukraine’s Minister of Strategic Industries Oleh Urusky wrote yesterday on Facebook. “Our countries are launching a new area of cooperation that has great prospects.”
Ending a 2-day trip to Turkey yesterday, Prime Minister Shmygal told reporters that his delegation invited Turkish companies to participate in concessions for international highways and for two Black Sea ports. In meetings in Istanbul and Ankara, he invited Turkish investors to build high speed passenger rail lines, housing for Crimean Tatars displaced from Crimea, and modern city hospitals. Ukrinform reports that the highway section that Shmygal pitched to Turkish construction companies is the Brody-Lviv-Krakovets highway, a heavily trafficked, 250 km section of the M10 that now takes four hours.
As Ukraine’s defense partnership with Turkey extends to the air, the air forces of the two nations have discussed the possibility of data exchange “including airspace monitoring” under NATO’s Air Situation Data Exchange program, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry reports. Turkey is a member of NATO. Both countries plan to develop gas fields in their sectors of the Black Sea. Ukrinform reports: “The parties agreed on possible mutual exchange of technical data for monitoring the airspace of exclusive economic zones, which will allow Ukraine to assess the situation in its own exclusive economic zone, preventing possible threats from the Russian Federation.”
With Turkish investors interested in buying one quarter of shares of jet engine maker Motor Sich, the original Chinese buyers plan to appeal their third rejection by Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee. Kharkiv’s DCH Group, minority partners of the Chinese group, say they are appealing the Committee’s latest rejection, saying it was based on ‘formalities.’
Defying the recession, Ukrzaliznytsia, the nation’s main cargo hauler, carried 7% more freight in November than in November of last year. Approaching the railroad’s target of 1 million tons a day, UZ carried 27 million tons during the first 29 days of November, reports the Center for Transportation Strategies. Domestic traffic, largely to the seaports, was up 21%, to 13 million tons. Turnover time for freight cars was cut by one third, to 7.8 days. Freight train speeds increased by 5%, to 35 km/h.
The Finance Ministry sold at auction yesterday the hryvnia equivalent of $93 million in government bonds. The 3-month bond was the most popular, accounting for 74% of sale, the Ministry reported on Facebook. It had a weighted average return of 9.89%. The return on 1-year bonds was 10.93%, up 17 basis points from one week earlier. The volume sold was only 16% of last week’s partly because the Ministry face $350 million worth of redemptions that week.
ICU gives this insight into the Nov. 24 auction: “For the first time since the end of February, foreigners’ portfolios rose during a week, albeit by a small amount. The increase amounted to just UAH182m (US$6m)… It looks like the main reason for such purchases is an increase in global demand for risk-on assets amid relatively moderate hryvnia exchange-rate fluctuations last weeks. This could provide incentive for some foreigners to purchase bills at primary market, given rates started at 10%, in expectation that the hryvnia will not weaken or even appreciate.”
Bolstered by fresh snow, Bukovel, Ukraine’s largest mountain resort, opens this weekend for skiing and snowboarding. “We invite you to the Ukrainian Carpathians,” Bukovel director Oleksandr Shevchenko writes on Facebook. “There is no virus here, just fresh air.” Actually, Ivano-Frankivsk region has recorded 36,434 coronavirus cases since mid-March. It is not known if ski areas will be affected by the general lockdown, forecast for late December.
One upside of Ukraine’s increasing infection rate: the Health Ministry has reduced its list of ‘red’ zone countries to 35. Red zone countries – those with recent infection rates above Ukraine’s 80/100,000 – include the US, Israel, France, Spain, Croatia, Moldova, and Romania. Travelers from these countries have to self-isolate until they test negative for Covid-19. Ukraine’s borders are largely closed to foreign travelers until the end of the month. Due to Ukraine’s high infection rate, foreign travel and foreign flights from Ukraine are restricted.
The new spread of the virus has hit home for many Ukrainians with the news of the hospitalizations in Kyiv of two well-known figures. Filaret, the 91-year-old Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Kyiv Patriarchate was in stable condition Friday at a Kyiv hospital. Yulia Tymoshenko, the 59-year-old leader of the Fatherland political party, emerged last week from intensive care. “Fighting off a serious disease for almost two weeks alters the perception of reality,” she wrote on Facebook from a Kyiv hospital. “Although recovery is still a distant prospect, now there is an opportunity to return to normal life, step by step.” She signs off: “Thank you and hug you tight. Everything will be fine!”
Recruiting Belarus IT workers – Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Ministry has opened a special web portal for Belarusian IT specialists who want to move to Ukraine and has hired Denis Aleinikov, a Belarusian lawyer who developed a special, low tax IT zone in Minsk. “About our initiative to support IT professionals living in Belarus…there is technical support, which works 24 hours a day and already helps specialists from Belarus,” Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s digital minister, said Friday while introducing Aleinikov to reporters. Of the 4,500 Belarusians who have fled to Ukraine to escape the police violence in Belarus, more than 300 are IT workers, Fedorov said.
Aleinikov is to help the Rada draw up a low tax, liberal labor law IT park similar to the Hi-Tech Park he helped build near Minsk. The park now has 880 registered companies. Last week, President Zelenskiy signed a decree giving the Rada 90 days to draw up legislation. “The Presidential Decree is public support, the political will for this project to move forward faster,” Fedorov said Friday. “We will create the world’s most comfortable economic zone with low taxes, legal employment, high wages. Favorable conditions for startups and entrepreneurs.”
With this investment regime, Fedorov aims to create an additional 450,000 IT jobs in Ukraine by 2025, generating $12 billion in economic activity. Last year, Ukraine’s IT exports grew 30% yoy, to $4.2 billion. Currently, Ukraine’s 4,000 IT companies employ 200,000 specialists. Short of staff, Ukrainian companies look north to Belarus where 60,000 IT specialists work in Minsk alone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is signaling that the poisoning of Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny, could imperil the Nord Stream 2, the Russia-Germany Baltic pipeline. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, told Bild am Sonntag newspaper said he hopes that Russian non-cooperation in the investigation would not force Berlin to “change our stance” on the pipeline. With the exception of the far right, political parties across the spectrum have called on Merkel to freeze Germany’s participation. The Financial Times reports from Berlin that the 1,230 km pipeline is 88% complete. Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder, chairman of the Nord Stream shareholders’ committee, told a Bundestag committee in June that the pipeline total cost will be €12 billion.
China’s Skyrizon company has notified Ukraine’s Justice Ministry that it intends to start international arbitration against Ukraine over access to the Motor Sich aircraft engine factory, reports UNIAN. Noting that it bought 56% of Motor Sich shares in 2016, Skyrizon is demanding $3.5 billion in damages for being unable to enter the factory complex for the last four years. Skyrizon argues that moves by Ukraine’s State Security office and Anti-Monopoly Committee violate the China-Ukraine investment protection treaty adopted by both countries in 1992.
During the first half of this year, Ukraine’s poultry exports were virtually constant in volume – 212,300 tons – but down 12% in monetary terms, to $271 million, reports Poultry World. At a press conference in Kyiv, Sergey Karpenko, executive director of the Union of Poultry Breeders, warns that a government plan to create a new agency to replace Gosprodpotrebzlyuzba, the state food safety regulator, could disrupt exports as new certificates will have to be negotiated with the veterinary agencies of importing countries.
The Middle East has displaced the EU as the top destination for Ukrainian chicken meat, reports The Poultry Site. The change is due partly because of new EU quotas and an avian flu outbreak in Vinnytia in January. In the first half of this year, the biggest markets were Saudi Arabia – 18%; the Netherlands – 17%; and UAE – 12%. For MHP, Ukraine’s largest producer, poultry exports were down by 10% during the first half, to 170,553 tons. Last year, MHP’s exports were up 25% yoy, to 357,400 tons.
The number of new filings for unemployment aid have dropped steadily: from 149,000 in April to 68,000 in July, reports the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture. Since the government adopted corona quarantine measures in mid-March, the government has paid $272 million in benefits to 432,000 people, about $630 per person.
Real wages were up 5% in July yoy, reports the State Statistics Service. The biggest growth sectors, in nominal terms, were: medicine and social services – +18% yoy; and IT and telecom – +14.4% yoy.
ICU writes: “The recovery of wages confirms a quite rapid exit of the labor market from the coronavirus-induced recession. The rebound of workers’ income is also evidenced by the high growth rates of retail trade and production of consumer goods.”
After a record week of coronavirus infections, Prime Minister Shmygal vowed that there will be no repeat of last spring’s lockdown. “We understand, both the government and the state leadership, there can be no second lockdown in Ukraine — most countries realize this,” he told a business forum Friday evening at Kyiv’s UNIT.City. “Closing down the country over the quarantine as it was in the spring, is impossible.”
Even with Sunday’s dip to 2,107 new cases, Ukraine’s ranks third in Europe for new cases, behind only France at 7,071, and UK at 2,988, according to Worldometer’s Coronavirus tracker. Worldwide, Ukraine ranks in 9th place for new infections. Despite this surge, schools last week opened across Ukraine, with the exceptions of 5% of the nation, which is classified ‘red.’
Starting today, two regional capitals, Ivano Frankivsk and Ternopil, are classified red. In advance, the mayors of both cities sued the Cabinet of Ministers in Kyiv District Administrative Court. The list published by the Cabinet of Ministers shows that most orange and red areas are in Western Ukraine. Although Kyiv city registers about 300 new cases a day, it is classified yellow, largely due to the large population.
Fresh from announcing a deal with Chinese investors to take over Motor Sich, Ukraine’s jet engine factory, Alekander Yaroslavsky offers to raise $1 billion to revive the aviation plant in his home city of Kharkiv. Earlier, Yaroslavsky’s DCH group rebuilt the terminal of Kharkiv airport and revived production at the Kharkiv Tractor Plant. Kharkiv Aircraft Plant has not made a plane since 2014. It largely survives by making spare parts and performing maintenance. It owes $8 million in back salaries. On Friday, Yaroslavsky offered to raise: $100 million to pay off debts; $500 million to complete airplanes on the production line and to start new ones; and $400 million for design development.
Today, flights resume between Kyiv and Yerevan, Armenia and between Kyiv and Almaty, Kazakhstan. Air service to the two countries was suspended five months ago as part of the coronavirus travel restrictions.
Do the math: Ihor Kolomoisky’s Windrose airline is receiving its 14th aircraft, a leased ATR-72-600. Within a year, Windrose is to receive another five of these regional turboprops, bringing its fleet to 19. At the same time, Kolomoisky’s UIA is cancelling leases and cancelling orders. Currently. UIA’s fleet is down 33, with 14 in storage. In 2013, Kolomoisky’s airline Aerosvit filed for bankruptcy and several jets were transferred to UIA.
“This will be the beginning of your end, you will go down on your knees like in Ukraine,” Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko warned 40,000 supporters in Minsk Sunday, rebutting calls for his resignation. A few hours later, participants at mass opposition rally of 220,000 chanted for Lukashenko to go. After a week of violent police attacks on protesters, policing was light. Workers at key state factories walked out on Friday. Today, state television workers threaten to strike, demanding an end to censorship.
On Saturday, Lukashenko asked President Putin for Russia to intervene militarily. But, according to the Kremlin readout of the call, Putin only promised to keep talking to the besieged 65-year-old leader. In Belarus, protesters do not call for withdrawal from two Moscow-led organizations – the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Without an anti-Moscow slant to the Belarus protest, some analysts drew parallels last night to the 2018 revolution in Armenia. They predict the Kremlin will work with a Belarus democracy movement that does not take aim at Russia.
Belarus is Ukraine’s fourth largest trading partner, largely a transit country for goods restricted by the Russia-Ukraine trade war. Despite this close economic relationship, President Zelenskiy probably will not travel to Grodno, Belarus on Oct. 8-9, for an annual bilateral trade and investment conference. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told UA: Ukrainian Radio on Friday: “Until the situation in Belarus stabilizes, it would be reckless to announce any visit or initiative.”
Eying Belarus’ dynamic IT industry, Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister posted an appeal to Belarus IT companies and specialists to relocate south of the border — to Ukraine. “Belarus has been going through one of the deepest political crises in its history,” Mikhalo Fedorov posts on his Facebook page. He says that, under a new recruitment program, foreign IT specialists can get their Ukraine work permits in 5-7 days – “that’s all.” Noting that this year’s quota is 5,000 “highly qualified IT specialists,” he says the national distribution is: Dnipropetrovsk, Odesa and Lviv regions – 600; Kharkiv – 700; and Kyiv – 2,500.
A near doubling of exports to China reduced Ukraine’s trade deficit to $1.3 billion for the first half of this year, the lowest level in recent years. The State Statistics Service reports exports to China rose 93%yoy to $3 billion, to Poland dropped 14%, to $1.5 billion; and to Russia dropped 17%, to $1.3 billion. Overall, Ukraine exported $22.9 billion worth of goods and imported $24.2 billion. For imports, Ukraine’s imports from China dropped 7%, to $3.6 billion; from Germany dropped 17%, to $2.5 billion; and from Russia dropped 43%, to $2.2 billion.
China’s purchase of ship parts and R&D services for aircraft engines made it the largest buyer of military equipment from UkrOboronProm during the first half of this year. Of $145 million in sales, the biggest buyers from the state defense conglomerate were: China, Turkey, Pakistan, India, Jordan, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Morocco, and Ethiopia. Of all deliveries, 56% went to Asia-Pacific.
China Railway Construction Corporation is talking with Vadym Novinsky’s Smart Holding about building a deep water port at Ochakiv, a Black Sea port 60 km south of Mykolaiv city. A strategic chokepoint controlled by at least 10 different peoples over the last 2,500 years, Ochakiv is 3.6 km across from the Kinburn Spit, a position that controls shipping to the mouth of the Dnipro. Smart Holding reports the Chinese are discussing doubling the depth of the harbor, to 15-18 meters, building a 70 km rail spur to Mykolaiv, and building port terminals for grain and iron ore, two products that dominate Ukraine’s trade with China, now its largest trading partner.
Given Ochakiv’s strategic location, facing Crimea 100 km to the south, US Navy Seabees built last year a $700,000 operations center at Ochakiv for Ukrainian Navy. When construction was announced, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Russian nationalist politician, announced: “This is Russian land – Ochakiv.” Next year, several US-supplied Mark VI fast patrol boats are to be based at Ochakiv.
Last month, CRCC, China’s second largest state-owned construction company, signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine’s Infrastucture Ministry about modernizing Ukraine’s inland waterways. These are the Dnipro, which flows through Kherson, and the Southern Bug, Ukraine’s second longest navigable river, which passes through Mykolaiv. For both projects, the Chinese team was led by Li Junqiang, executive director of CRCC’s subsidiary CRCC14 Overseas Construction and Development Co Ltd., and Wang Chuang, deputy general director of CRCC’s 14th Bureau Group.
Nibulon, the largest shipper on the Dnipro, is building a Black Sea port complex in Ochakiv and restoring the fish canning factory. To supply the cannery with fish, crustaceans and mollusks from the Dnipro-Buzky estuary, Nibulon’s CEO Oleksiy Vadatursky writes on his Facebook page that he is considering building shallow water fishing vessels at Nibulon’s shipyard in Mykolaiv.
The Finance Ministry raised the equivalent of $366 million in its weekly government bond auction Tuesday – virtually the same amount as one week earlier. To keep, hryvnia rates from rising, the Ministry rejected the equivalent of $75 million worth of bids. Interest rates were little changed with 4-month bonds going for 7% and 2-year bonds going for 10%. By contrast, the Ministry satisfied 26 of 27 bidders for 1.5 month USD-denominated bonds at 3.6%.
Concorde Capital’s Evgeniya Akhtyrko concludes: “There is no improvement in the sentiments of the broader circle of market players regarding the risk level of UAH debt at the moment.”
Planes left Kyiv Sikorsky Airport half full last month. In July, Kyiv’s right bank airport handled 1,314 flights — 48% the number of flights of one year earlier. But the number of passengers was only 52,400 – 20% the level of one year earlier. The most popular international destinations were: Warsaw; Tivat, Montenegro; London Luton; Minsk; Dalaman, Turkey; Wroclaw, Poland; Bodrum. Turkey; and Tirana, Albania.
SkyUp Airlines returned in July to 50% of its pre-coronavirus traffic levels. Operating 704 domestic and international flights from Kyiv Boryspil, the low cost airline carried 96,407 passengers in July. Of its regularly scheduled foreign destinations, Albania was more popular than Bulgaria. For charters, Turkey was more popular than Egypt.
Air Astana resumes flights between Almaty and Kyiv Boryspil next Wednesday. From Almaty, the Kazakh national carrier flies to 26 destinations, including Beijing and Delhi. Air Astana suspended flights to Ukraine five months ago.
The day after President Zelenskiy signed a law giving tax breaks to foreign film productions, Kyiv City officials announced a list of streets to be closed Aug. 12-25 for the filming of a Jean-Claude Van Damme film — ‘The Last Mercenary.’ Since most of this Netflix ‘comedy action movie’ takes place in France, it appears that Kyiv will be dressed up to look like a French city. Van Damme, a Belgian, is known to American fans as ‘The Muscles from Brussels.’
About 200 more state companies will be transferred to the State Property Fund for privatization, the Cabinet of Ministers decided yesterday. The companies are either unprofitable or are used “for various shady schemes,” Economy Minister Ihor Petrashko told reporters after the meeting. At the same time, the government is cutting by one third – to 200 – the proposed list of state companies exempted from privatization, Prime Minister Shmygal said during the Cabinet Meeting.
Until the coronavirus pandemic started, several foreign investor groups had planned to come to Ukraine this summer to study state companies scheduled for sale. Dmytro Sennychenko, head of the Property Fund, estimates that about half of Ukraine’s 3,000 state companies are bankrupt and will be liquidated. The others will be sold at public, electronic auctions, largely as is. To help foreign investors, the Fund has set up a bilingual Ukrainian-English website with ‘data rooms’ on each property up for sale. To speed the sale of distilleries from Ukrspirt, the state alcohol producer, the Cabinet of Ministers yesterday passed a key package of regulations setting sale conditions.
Ukravtodor presented yesterday a project to build $3 billion, 150km, three quarter circle Kyiv ring road. Designed to intercept traffic about 40 km outside capital, the bypass would link all major international highways that converge on Kyiv – from Kovel, Lviv, Odesa, Boryspil, Kharkiv and Chernihiv. Designed to carry 300,000 cars a day, the bypass road would include a new, 6 km bridge over the Dnipro, to be built south of Pivdenniy (South) Bridge. At the presentation, the national highway agency announced a tender for the first of six sections: a 35 km stretch between the Kyiv-Lviv and Kyiv-Odesa highways. If full financing can be arranged, the new ring road could be completed by 2030.
A US company is negotiating with Mykolaiv regional authorities to build a $250 million waste recycling plant for the entire region, Alexander Stadnik, regional head, tells NikVesti, a local news site. For convenience, the plant would be located in Nova Odesa district, in the center of Mykolaiv oblast, reports Delo.ua. Stadnik did not identify the company, but said it is ready to start investing.
Fighting to preserve a joint venture with a Chinese company to control Ukraine’s aircraft engine maker, Ukraine’s DCH conglomerate told Reuters and NV business news site yesterday that it has signed an agreement to buy “more that 25% of shares” in the company, Motor Sich. Addressing fears that design and production would move to China, DCH, a Kharkiv-based group, told NV: “DCH will have the right to veto key business decisions.” NV speculated that joint venture idea was developed last November during a meeting in Kharkiv between Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, owner of DCH, and Jack Ma, founder of China’s Alibaba Group. DCH says Ukraine Antimonopoly Committee should decide on the case by the end of this year.
President Zelenskiy signed a law creating the legal and regulatory framework for derivatives – the financial instrument that helps to provide hedging opportunities against prices, interest rates or currency rate movements. Scheduled to go into effect next July 1, the law would allow such derivatives as swaps, which will allow Ukrainian banks, farmers and manufacturers, to hedge their foreign exchange exposures. Required under the IMF’s current standby agreement with Ukraine, the law was drawn up by the National Securities and Stock Market Commission working with experts from the EBRD.
Timur Khromaev, head of the Commission, said of the derivatives law: “It represents a big step forward in creating the conditions in which our economy can move to a more sophisticated stage of development.” Matteo Patrone, EBRD’s regional Managing Director said: “The new law will contribute to the establishment of a derivatives market in Ukraine. This is a major step forward to putting Ukraine on investors’ radar screens.”
The day after President Zelenkiy signed the law legalizing gambling, Parimatch, the largest betting company in Ukraine, announced that it will bid for hotel casino licenses in Ukraine. Founded in Kyiv in 1994, Parimatch has moves largely online, accepting bets on sporting events, e-sports, elections, show business, Eurovision and the Nobel Prize. With 1,600 employees, the company largely operates in Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Cyprus, where it has its headquarters.