Business news from Ukraine

“Kernel” resumes transshipment of vegetable oils in port of Chornomorsk

5 March , 2024  

In October-December 2023, Kernel Agro Holding made additional investments to restore the transshipment of vegetable oils at the long-dormant Chornomorsk port, which it acquired in July 2023, allowing the company to start loading the first vessel with sunflower oil in January 2024.

“This was an important milestone in the revival of the company,” Kernel said in its quarterly report published on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

It also notes that in December 2023, Kernel completed the acquisition of 100% of corporate rights in Reni-Oil LLC, a terminal in the port of Reni for transshipment of sunflower oil with a one-time storage capacity of 15 thousand tons of oil, for $24.75 million. It is indicated that this asset, located on the Danube, is important for the group, providing the ability to export sunflower oil even in the event of a blockade of the Black Sea ports.

According to the report, in December 2023, Kernel acquired a bulk carrier with a capacity of 50 thousand tons of grain, which became the third vessel in the company’s fleet and significantly expanded the group’s transportation and logistics capabilities.

In addition, in December 2023, Kernel launched the fifth cogeneration heat and power plant at one of its oil extraction plants with an installed capacity of 21 MW, which helps to increase resilience to the risk of potential power outages.

“According to the plan, the Group is working on commissioning a new modern oilseed processing plant located in Khmelnytsky region, which is scheduled to be commissioned in spring 2024. At the time of publication of this report, commissioning works have already begun. The plant with a capacity of 1 million tons of sunflower seeds per year will be the largest in Ukraine,” the document also says.

It specifies that in October-December 2023, the company spent $41 million on investments in fixed assets, including the purchase of a Supramax bunker.

As reported, in August last year, Kernel announced the purchase of vegetable oil transshipment facilities in the port of Chornomorsk for $19.4 million and a sunflower oil transshipment terminal in the port of Reni (both in Odesa region) for $24.75 million.

“The one-time storage of 105 thousand tons of sunflower oil will allow the group not to stop the operation of processing plants in case of transportation disruptions, as it was in the 2022-2023 financial years, and to smooth out logistics,” the agricultural holding commented on these acquisitions at the time. “Kernel added that the expansion of infrastructure is “vital” for the agricultural holding ahead of the commissioning of the Starokonstantinivsk oil extraction plant in Khmelnytsky region.

Kernel’s net profit for FY2023 amounted to $299 million, while the company ended the previous year with a net loss of $41 million. The agricultural holding’s revenue for FY2023 decreased by 35% to $3.455 billion, but EBITDA increased 2.5 times to $544 million.

In the first half of FY2024, Kernel’s net profit fell 3.6 times compared to the first half of FY2023, to $102 million, and EBITDA halved to $223 million, with revenue down 16% to $1.59 billion.