Business news from Ukraine

Best EU countries for women to work revealed – study

Finland is the best country in the EU for women in the workplace, a new study has revealed. Personal finance experts Finansvalp analysed Eurostat data on seats held by women in national parliaments, women in senior management positions, and the 2022 median net income by gender in the 27 EU member countries. Each country was given a gender-equality score out of 50 and ranked from worst to best.

Finland topped the study as the best country for gender equality in the workplace. The country ranked above every other destination due to a high percentage of women in senior roles nationwide. Women make up 72.4% of seats in the national government, the highest percentage of any country in the EU. Finland also placed second for the share of women in seats at national parliament with 46%. Despite a high volume of women taking on senior positions in the country, the gender pay gap still seems to be an issue in Finland. The median net income for men in 2022 sat at €27,353, while women earned 6.04% less on average with €25,719.

Portugal fell just short of Finland, ranking second for gender equality in the workplace. In 2022, the median net income in Portugal was higher for women than men, positioning the country as the only EU nation where female workers earn more on average. Women took home a median net income of €11,038, 0.53% more than the median wage of €10,979 for men. While annual earnings propelled Portugal near the top of the study, the country had the sixth lowest share of female executives, with women counting for only 16.9% of executives at Portugal’s largest publicly listed companies.

France claimed third spot on the study of the EU countries with the most gender-equal workplaces. The country rated high for gender equality thanks to a large percentage of women in leadership roles in some of its biggest publicly listed companies. Women made up 46.1% of board members at these major corporations, the highest percentage of any EU country. One of every four executives at the same companies are women (29%), second only behind Lithuania.

Sweden placed fourth on the study for gender equality in the workplace. The country is home to the most gender-equal parliament in the EU. Approximately 46.6% of seats in the national parliament are held by females, more than any other nation. Sweden also has the fourth-highest percentage of female executives at the country’s large public organisations, with women representing 28.6% of all executives.

The Netherlands rounded out the top five EU countries for women in employment. The country ranked high for female representation in the national government (53.6%) and national parliament (29%). While women make up a large proportion of seats at government and parliament level, men still tend to earn more on average in the Netherlands. According to the 2022 median net income, men earn 5.28% more than women in the country.

Belgium is home to the sixth most gender-equal workplaces in the EU. More than half (55%) of the seats in Belgium’s national government are held by women, the second-highest percentage of any nation in the study. The country’s female representation also remains high at parliament level as well, with females taking 42.9% of all seats. Belgium also has the 11th lowest gender pay gap in the EU, with the median net income of men 3.37% higher than women.

Denmark secured seventh place on the study of the best EU countries for women to work. The country ranked high due to having the 8th lowest gender pay gap in the EU (3.03%) and large proportion of women in senior roles across the nation. Precisely 44.1% of seats at Denmark’s national parliament are held by females, with only Sweden and Finland having a higher rate in the EU. The country also has the third-highest rate of female board members at its largest publicly listed companies (41.4%), just below France and Italy.

Spain, Germany, and Lithuania filled out the top 10 EU countries with the most gender-equal workplaces. Spain and Germany rated high for female representation at government and parliament level, while Lithuania claimed 10th place on the study thanks to the highest share of female executives of any EU nation.

Table: The EU countries with the most gender-equal workplaces

Olle Pettersson, finance expert and CEO of Finansvalp, commented on the study: “In the last 20 years, the number of women holding seats at national government and national parliament level in the EU has risen by over 50%, while the share of female board members at the largest publicly listed companies has exploded by 312%.

“If the trend of greater female representation continues in senior positions across the EU, we should hopefully see the gender pay gap reduce, making many countries more inclusive places for women to work.”

The full table of results can be accessed here.

Sources: Eurostat

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“Metinvest” sold more than half of its products in EU

Metinvest Mining and Metallurgical Group sold 55% of its steel and mining products in the European Union (EU) in January-June 2023.

According to the company’s presentation at the 15th J.P. Morgan Global Emerging Markets Corporate Conference, during this period, Metinvest sold 35% of its steel products in Ukraine, 2% in MENA, 1% in the CIS and 7% in other regions for a total of $2.423 billion.

In addition, the Group sold 28% of its iron ore products in Ukraine, 10% in Asia, and 7% in other regions for a total of $1.131 billion.

At the same time, in 1H2022, Metinvest sold 48% of its steel products in the EU (50% in 2H2022), 28% (35%) in Ukraine, 13% (4%) in MENA, 6% (1%) in the CIS and 5% (10%) in other regions for a total of $3.603 billion ($2.113 billion).

In addition, the company’s share of sales of iron ore products in the first half of 2022 in the EU amounted to 45% (60% in the second half of 2022), in Ukraine – 20% (27%), in Asia – 19% (2%), in other regions – 15% (11%) for a total of $1.669 billion ($903 million).

The presentation states that sales of steel products in 1H2023 decreased by 33% year-on-year, mainly due to a 54% and 56% decrease in pig iron and flat products production at Ukrainian steelmakers amid a lack of slab sales and a decline in average selling prices. This was partially offset by increased supplies of billets (up 3%) and long products (up 14%), as well as coke (up 10%), with higher resale volumes.

The positive six-month trend in 1H2023 compared to 2H2022 (up 15%) was driven by higher sales volumes of all products, including finished products (up 22%), semi-finished products (up 7%) and coke (up 18%).

At the same time, logistical challenges continued to shape the geography of sales.

Sales of iron ore products in 1H2023 decreased by 32% compared to 1H2022, mainly due to a 44% drop in iron ore prices and reduced supplies due to the blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, as well as lower intragroup consumption and a drop in local demand. The results were also affected by the negative dynamics of prices for iron ore with an iron content of 62%. This was partially offset by an increase in sales of pellets and coking coal concentrate by 43% and 42%, respectively. This resulted in significant changes in regional revenue shares.

At the same time, compared to the second half of 2022, there was a positive trend (up 25%), primarily due to an increase in sales of all products, namely pellets (up 2.1 times), iron ore concentrate (up 56%) and coking coal concentrate (up 13%).

“Metinvest comprises mining and metallurgical enterprises located in Ukraine, Europe and the USA. Its major shareholders are SCM Group (71.24%) and Smart Holding (23.76%), which jointly manage it.

Metinvest Holding LLC is the management company of Metinvest Group.


EU Council agrees on position to extend for another year privileges for Ukrainian exports

The EU Council announced on Wednesday that the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) of the European Union has agreed on the Council’s negotiating mandate to extend for another year the suspension of import duties and quotas on Ukrainian and Moldovan exports to the EU.

“By agreeing to renew these measures, we demonstrate our continued support for Ukraine and Moldova, while protecting the internal market from excessive increases in imports of certain sensitive agricultural products,” commented Aja Labib, Foreign Minister of Belgium, which holds the EU Council presidency, on the agreement of the Permanent Representatives.

The Council communiqué explains that the two legislative proposals that member states will discuss with the European Parliament are aimed at extending the suspension of import duties and quotas for another year: from June 6, 2024 to June 5, 2025 for Ukraine and from July 25, 2024 to July 24, 2025 for Moldova – provided that “the protection of sensitive agricultural products is simultaneously enhanced by strengthening safeguards” already included in the relevant existing regulations.

Brussels explains that “by renewing these measures, the EU will continue to support and stimulate trade flows from Ukraine to the EU and the rest of the world, and will contribute to creating conditions for the expansion of economic and trade relations leading to the gradual integration of Ukraine into the EU’s internal structure.”

As for Moldova, these measures are intended to “help preserve the conditions necessary to enable Moldova to continue its trade relations with the EU and with the rest of the world through the EU,” the EU Council said.


EU to allocate €75 mln for humanitarian aid to Ukraine

The European Commission (EC) announced on Tuesday the allocation of €83 million in “initial humanitarian aid” to Ukraine and Moldova for 2024.

“To help the most vulnerable people (…) in 2024, the EU will provide an initial €75 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine and €8 million to Moldova. And we will continue to closely monitor the changing needs on the ground to respond to the most urgent humanitarian challenges,” said Janez Lenarčič, EC Member for Crisis Management.

The European Commission’s communiqué explains that €75 million for Ukraine has been allocated for humanitarian projects “to provide emergency assistance, including access to basic needs such as shelter, protection services, drinking water, education and healthcare.”

Humanitarian projects for Moldova worth €8 million provide “targeted assistance to the most vulnerable populations, including humanitarian cash assistance to meet basic needs, protection and health care.”

The European Commission said that with this new funding, it has allocated a total of €926 million for humanitarian assistance programs for the civilian population of Ukraine after February 2022. Of these funds, €860 million is earmarked for humanitarian programs inside Ukraine and €66 million for support to Ukrainian refugees in neighboring Moldova.


EU to supply 1 mln artillery shells to Ukraine by end of year

At an informal meeting in Brussels, EU defense ministers agreed to fulfill their promise to supply 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said.

“We have just agreed with the EU defense ministers that we will fulfill our promise to supply 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine. By the end of March, we will have delivered more than 0.5 million shells. More than 1.1 million shells by the end of 2024. The EU’s production capacity will increase to 1.5 million by the end of 2024,” Pevkur wrote on social media site X.

Last spring, the EU countries jointly agreed to send one million shells to Ukraine by March 2024 to repel Russia’s military aggression.


27 EU leaders agree on additional €50 bln package to support Ukraine

27 EU leaders have agreed on an additional €50 billion package of support for Ukraine within the EU budget, European Council President Charles Michel said.

“We have an agreement. We have unity. All 27 leaders have agreed on an additional €50 billion package of support for Ukraine within the EU budget. This provides sustainable, long-term and predictable funding for Ukraine. The EU is taking the lead and responsibility in supporting Ukraine; we know what is at stake,” Michel wrote on social media platform X on Thursday.