Business news from Ukraine

UMCC has started selling titanium raw materials to Italy, Spain and Germany and is systematically expanding its export geography

PrJSC United Mining and Chemical Company (UMCC), which has taken over management of Vilnohirsk Mining and Metallurgical Plant (VGMK, Dnipro region) and Irshansk Mining and Processing Plant (IGOK, Zhytomyr region), has started selling titanium raw materials to Italy, Spain, Germany and is systematically expanding its exports.

According to the company, despite the difficulties and risks of wartime, it shipped more than 102 thousand tons of products in 2023. The planned supply volumes for 2024 are 200 thousand tons.

Yegor Perelygin, First Deputy Chairman of the Board of UMCC, quoted in the information, noted that due to effective approaches and communication with potential buyers, the company signed contracts for the supply of approximately 80 thousand tons in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.

“We were able to attract a series of subscriptions for finished products from stable market players and open new ways to supply world-class end users. We have integrated the coordination and logistics management functions in the commercial unit, become more flexible and focused on an individual approach to strategic customers. As a result, we have opened the UMCC brand to well-known end users in Italy, Spain and Germany,” he explained.

Mr. Perelygin added that by the end of the second quarter of this year, UMCC’s rutile and zircon may become absolutely regular and key components in the raw material portfolios of major processors in Italy, Spain and Germany.

At the same time, companies in the United States and the Czech Republic remain strategic partners for UMCC’s ilmenite concentrate. We are also launching export deliveries of Irshansky GOK’s ilmenite to one of the largest end users in North America. The company plans to sell about 60 thousand tons in the near future. The company emphasizes that the supply chain and end users of these products are strictly controlled by the company and law enforcement agencies.

“Our success is due to our large team. These are more than 4,000 professionals who work in the NONstop mode. Together, we have made a good start for 2024 and are moving step by step towards our strategic goal of producing value-added products and significantly curtailing the aggressor’s influence in the markets of critical minerals and strategic materials,” summarized Perelygin.

The United Mining and Chemical Company started its actual operations in August 2014, when the Ukrainian government decided to transfer the property complexes of Vilnohirsk Mining and Metallurgical Plant (VGMK, Dnipropetrovska oblast) and Irshansk Mining and Processing Plant (IGOK, Zhytomyrska oblast) to its management. Previously, these plants were leased to Firtash’s structures. Then the company was transformed into a PJSC and then into a PrJSC.

In August 2016, the government included UMCC in the list of companies to be privatized in 2017. Its deadline was postponed several times, and the tender was disrupted twice.

UMCC used to sell its products to more than 30 countries and was one of the world’s largest producers of titanium raw materials, accounting for 4% of the global market. The company mines titanium ore.

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Italian export credit agency to allocate EUR1.5 bln to support trade with Ukraine

Italian export credit agency SACE will allocate EUR1.5bn to support trade and financial operations, particularly in the health care and infrastructure sectors.

According to the website of the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine, this was discussed during the meeting between the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine – Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yulia Sviridenko and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Italian Republic to Ukraine Pier Francesco Dzadzo, where the Ukrainian side urged SACE to strengthen cooperation with Ukraine and expand the types of covered risks.

In addition, the export credit agency intends to support investments of Italian companies in Ukraine and provide export credits, soft loans and direct investments.

First Deputy Prime Minister noted the importance of supporting Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is the backbone of the national economy. She stressed that the Government also expects to intensify cooperation with the Italian Agency for Cooperation Development (AICS) to promote local economic development, job creation and support SMEs.

In addition, the sides discussed the return of Ukrainians. The provision of housing for Ukrainians remains important.

SACE is an Italian export credit agency and an active participant of the largest international organizations in the field of export credit. SACE’s activities are regulated by European Union legislation and the OECD Agreement on Officially Supported Export Credits.

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Italy to allocate EUR 0.5 mln for restoration of Transfiguration Cathedral

An agreement was signed between Italy and UNESCO, according to which Italy will contribute EUR 500,000 to carry out priority restoration work in the Transfiguration Cathedral, the Odesa mayor’s office reported on Friday.

It is also reported that an Italian government delegation chaired by the Special Envoy for Restoring and Strengthening the Resilience of Ukraine, Davide La Cecilia, is in Odesa on an official visit.

In October 2023, Italy took patronage over the restoration of Odesa and began active cooperation with UNESCO on this matter. La Cecilia noted that with the beginning of Italy’s presidency of the G7, from January 1, 2024, the issue of the restoration of Ukraine was also included in the priorities of the G7.

UNESCO Coordinator in Ukraine Chiara Dezzi Bardeschi presented the main areas of cooperation, including the urgent stabilization of damaged monuments and the creation of a Master Plan for the management of cultural heritage sites. Also in the future – the development of recommendations and protocols for the protection and development of Odesa in accordance with the principles of sustainable development.

It is planned to sign a trilateral Memorandum of Cooperation on the restoration of Odesa (Italy – Ukraine – UNESCO), as well as separately between Italy and Ukraine, where areas of cooperation will be outlined.

Earlier it was reported that Odesa authorities warned about the danger of further destruction of the Transfiguration Cathedral, which suffered from a Russian missile attack on the city on July 23, 2023, and on the night of November 11 last year was flooded after heavy rain.

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Italy signs agreement with Metinvest to develop metallurgy in Pombino

The Italian Ministry of Business and Production, the Tuscany region and the municipality of Pembino have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Metinvest Mining and Metallurgical Group to develop the metallurgical sector in the region.

According to official information from the Italian Ministry, the memorandum was signed with Metinvest Adria SpA, Metinvest B.V., Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche SpA, to ensure conditions for the restart of the steel plant in Piombino.

It is specified that this is “a decisive step for the restart of the Pembino site, which will play an increasingly central role in the national steel industry plan.”

It is also reported that the purpose of the industrial project is to develop, construct, own, operate, and maintain an environmentally sustainable plant for the production of finished steel products derived from the processing of ferrous metals into hot-rolled coils for further processing, which will be built in Pembino on an area of approximately 260 hectares. The project will be financed through external financing and government grants.

The Pembino steel complex is one of the main steel processing centers in Italy and Europe, and the Ministry of Business and the Made in Italy project aim to support the resumption of rail production and simultaneously launch the production of hot-rolled coils in order to restore operations, preserve employment and reduce imports of steel products to Italy from non-EU countries. This has renewed interest in the feasibility of the integrated industrial development project presented by Metinvest Adria S.p.A., Metinvest B.V. and Danieli & C. Officine Meccaniche S.P.A., the ministry said in a statement.

The signatories to the agreement undertake to immediately conduct an agreed feasibility study aimed at determining the conditions for stable and long-term operation of the hub, as well as increasing the industrial and production potential of the territory, giving preference to solutions that are most compatible with the urban environment.

When fully operational, the project will employ about 1,500 direct and indirect workers and will have a significant economic impact on other related industries at the regional and national level, the information says.

The Ministry of Business and Made in Italy will coordinate a working group involving all competent national and local institutions to stimulate the creation of manufacturing plants.

Potential investors: Ministry of the Environment and Land and Sea Protection, Tuscany Region, Municipality of Piombino, Port, System Authority, State Property Agency.

The Protocol defines the conditions for concluding a Program Agreement within four months in accordance with Article 252 bis of the Consolidated Environmental Law.

Italian Minister of Business and Production Adolfo Urso said that “the agreement marks a decisive step towards the restart of the Pembino complex, which will play an increasingly central role in the context of the national steel industry plan, together with Taranto, Terni and the steel mills of northern Italy.”

Eugenio Giani, President of the Tuscany region, added that “the memorandum of understanding is the first and necessary signal of the investment proposed by Metinvest and Danieli, as well as a concrete sign of cooperation between the institutions to guarantee the future of steel production in Italy.”

“Tuscany is a land open to foreign investment, and the Pembino region has been favored by metallurgy since the Etruscan times. The Metinvest-Danieli project will have the support of the Tuscany region. (…) We hope that another investment project of JSW Steel Italy can also be realized, given the interdependencies and possible complementarities between the production of flat products (by Metinvest) and long products (by Jsw). We have guaranteed significant investment in the port and infrastructure, an opportunity that the Metinvest-Danieli duo has clearly recognized, and we will work over the next 4 months to reach a binding programmatic agreement with a timeframe for all,” explained Giani.

Pombino Mayor Francesco Ferrari said that “this agreement is a real opportunity for a restart that will return Pombino to the center of the national and international steel industry.”

Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest B.V., said: “The agreement with the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy marks a significant step towards creating one of the greenest and cleanest plants in Europe.

“This project, with a capacity of about 3 million tons of steel, will play a crucial role in Italy’s transition to green technology by introducing sustainable and environmentally friendly industrial methods. In addition, it will help to increase the utilization of our iron ore mining and processing facilities in Ukraine, leading to their modernization to produce high-quality pellets. Pembino is a cutting-edge project that, once completed, will become a real example of how cooperation between foreign industrial groups and Italian institutions can yield positive results,” Ryzhenkov emphasized.

Danieli Group President Gianpietro Benedetti said that “this agreement is the first important result that will lead to the creation of a plant that will be one of the first fully digital and will have an important positive impact on employment.”

“Metinvest is a vertically integrated group of steel and mining companies. The Group’s enterprises are located primarily in Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro regions.

The main shareholders of the holding are SCM Group (71.24%) and Smart Holding (23.76%), which jointly manage it.

Metinvest Holding LLC is the management company of Metinvest Group.

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Italy will help restore Cathedral in Odesa

The Italian government will help reconstruct the Transfiguration Cathedral, which the Russians destroyed during the shelling of Odesa on July 23, the Italian government said.

“Italian restoration schools, meaning university departments, vocational institutes, studios and laboratories, are today making their traditional expertise available to a project to restore and enhance the walls and frescoes that were hit by the Russian bombs, thereby marking an age-old friendship between two peoples and an effective rebirth for the city,” according to the report on the Italian government’s website.

“The Italian government has involved two of Italy’s most authoritative cultural institutions, the Milan Triennale and the MAXXI museum in Rome, in order to gather the best economic, technical and cultural resources able to contribute to the restoration of the Transfiguration Cathedral,” the report says.

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Italy and Ukraine signed Memorandum of Cooperation

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with the Italian Trade Agency in the framework of the conference on the restoration of the Ukrainian state, the Foreign Ministry’s press service said.
In particular, the Memorandum is an important step towards creating new opportunities for Ukrainian exporters in the Italian market, revitalizing B2B contacts, and expanding Ukrainian products on the shelves of leading Italian retail chains.
It is noted that within the framework of the initiated cooperation, Ukrainian exporters will be able to get expanded opportunities to establish direct working contacts with Italian partners, business meetings, participation in exhibitions and retail events.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine is consistently expanding its partnerships with foreign specialized associations to help Ukrainian exporters enter new foreign markets using the capabilities of the Nazovni digital platform,” the Foreign Ministry’s press service summarized.
The international platform NAZOVNI is a globalization service for Ukrainian business created to promote goods and services abroad with the assistance of Ukrainian diplomatic missions.

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