Published in London and written by International and Ukraine-based writers and market experts, UBI is the only international English language publication covering trade and investment with Ukraine.
Lead commentators and practitioners provide incisive insight into the realities of the market and its changing dynamics, alert readers to new opportunities as they arise, as well as any potential threats to business, with analytic comment on the wider implications for business in the country.
We are pro-free markets, adhering to international best practice and social responsibility, but with no party allegiance.
Yet again, Ukraine’s future is viewed as being the balance as the country seeks to achieve the goals of genuine independence, democracy, a Western orientation, and try to eradicate the deeply ingrained corruption in public life that has persisted even after the Maidan revolution which kicked out the corrupt regime of former president Victor Yanukovych, while the fear is of backsliding to gangster rule and subservience to Russia.Among those calling for the country to reject rule by politicians who practice or tolerate corruption is Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (see below) saying that the country needs to fully implement its reform legislation to stay on track with IMF loan conditions.
Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko says that Ukraine’s Finance Ministry has cut its forecast for real GDP growth in 2016 from 2% to 1%. Falling resource prices on the global markets were blamed. “We need to revise the budget implementation results for the first two months. I think we need to talk about lower fiscal collections since commodity prices have changed,” she told reporters.
Ukraine’s largest poultry producer MHP conservatively forecasts EBITDA of US$ 400m US$ 420m this year according to company CFO Viktoriya Kapelyushna. (In comparison, Bloomberg has estimated EBITDA of US$ 440m).Capital expenditure is put at US$ 100m to US$ 110m compared to US$ 170m in 2015. Some US$ 60m of working capital is expected to be invested during the year compared to U$D 225m last year; it will be used to purchase sunflower seeds and soya at low prices this harvest season.
When the Maidan demonstrators overthrew the elected President Viktor Yanukovych in populist uprising against his reneging plans to agree a trade agreement with the European Union two years ago, it appeared Ukraine would finally get the opportunity to capitalise on its enormous, long recognised, long suppressed potential and take a mainstream European route to development.
But the overthrow wasn’t bloodless; some 100 protesters were killed before Yanukovych fled to Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin was furious at the overthrow of his protégé – widely believed to have changed his pro-EU policy at the behest of Moscow.
Russia’s emergencies ministry has declared a state of emergency in Crimea following destruction by explosives of two transmission towers in Ukraine that, according to Russia’s Energy Ministry, has left 1.6 million of the peninsula’s 2 million population without electricity. The peninsula is economically dependent on Ukraine which it relies on for power and water, as it generates less than 20 percent of its peak demand. Planned infrastructure investments by Russia have been restricted by strict western sanctions on the territory.
On March 15, 2016, the US has pledged its support for reformists in Ukraine, with Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs issuing the following Statement Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Washington, DC (Edited).Ukraine still has a long way to go to meet the aspirations of its people, but your bipartisan support, your visits to Ukraine, and the assistance you and your fellow members have provided have been essential to our policy. All across Ukraine, citizens are standing up and sacrificing for the universal values that bind us as a transatlantic community: for sovereignty, territorial integrity, human rights, dignity, clean and accountable government, and justice for all. The United States has a profound national interest in Ukraine’s success, and with it, a more democratic, prosperous, stable Europe.
The first dedicated report on Wealth Management in Ukraine provides fascinating observations on the development of a home-grown wealth management marketplace. Today, the richest 100 Ukrainians have an estimated combined net worth of more than US $54bn (Forbes, April 2012), while the richest 200 have US $58.2bn (Focus, March 2012). Figures based on tax data put the number of affluent individuals (those with more than US $100,000 liquid assets) in the country at below 2,000 in 2010. However, qualitative research conducted for this report suggests the figure today is probably in excess of 30,000. Official figures suggest that 30% of high net worth clients in Ukraine use private banking services. However, the leading market participants interviewed for this report believe that this number is optimistic, and that the opportunity is largely unexploited. Factors preventing even more rapid growth include severe restrictions on the legal transfer of capital offshore, a limited stock exchange and the absence of an established private banking culture - amongst both local banks and wealthy Ukrainians. Nevertheless, research for Wealth Management Ukraine 2012 suggests that most wealthy Ukrainians keep about 60% of their assets offshore. This is partly due to a lack of confidence in local banks and partly due to the superior experience offered by more established players elsewhere. Private banking in Ukraine is forecast to grow rapidly. In the first dedicated report on the sector, we provide a snapshot of the current state of play. The research was conducted in Ukraine in the first quarter of 2012 by Eurasia Insights and Ukraine Business Insight magazine, sponsored by Coutts. Download a free copy of a preview of the report here: