Business news from Ukraine


Metinvest, the vertically integrated steel and mining group of companies, has signed its first smart contract on blockchain trade finance platform supported by UniCredit.
According to a press release provided by Metinvest Group, this blockchain transaction demonstrates the importance of digitalization in the steel industry.
“Importantly, this is the first blockchain transaction provided by UniCredit to Metinvest Group and is a new digital instrument for us. Blockchain technology allows for the creation and management of a large distributed transaction management database that can be shared across multiple nodes of a network. Such transactions demonstrate the Group’s willingness to work in a trusted environment with secure technology, improved risk mitigation and enhanced visibility,” a press service quotes Head of Corporate Finance at the European Re-rolling Business Unit of Metinvest Group, Jamilya Baimukhambetova, as saying.
According to the press release, the underlying transaction is the purchase of equipment for one of Metinvest’s production re-rollers from a European supplier. One of the pilot project’s objectives is to try the new platform from the client side, so that the Group can evaluate its potential as a new type of payment terms that it can offer to some of its major customers.
Exploring the potential of blockchain trade finance is one way that Metinvest Group is implementing its digital innovation strategy, the Group said in its press release.
The platform works in partnership with major European banks (Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland) and is based on distributed ledger technology, the major underlying elements of which include blockchain and smart contracts. When a smart contract is created on the platform, the payment will be automatically triggered according to the terms agreed by the counterparties once the buyer has confirmed the delivery of the goods, making the transaction considerably faster and more transparent.
According to the press release, is a truly successful inter-bank collaboration that can help to redefine business relationships among companies, removing obstacles that typically make international transactions costly and complex while delivering benefits for corporates.
Metinvest Group is a vertically integrated group of steel and mining companies that manages every link of the value chain, from mining and processing iron ore and coal to making and selling semi-finished and finished steel products. It comprises steel and mining production facilities located in Ukraine, Europe and the US, as well as a sales network covering all key global markets. Metinvests business is divided for financial reporting purposes into two segments: metallurgical and mining. The Group ended the first quarter with revenues of $2.9 billion and an EBITDA margin was 15%.
Metinvest Holding LLC is the management company of Metinvest Group.

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Metinvest B.V. (the Netherlands), the parent company of the international vertically integrated mining and metallurgical group Metinvest, has become a member of the Dutch Association of Metallurgical Industry (VNMI). According to a press release from the company, the trade association of Dutch producers of raw materials, semi-finished goods and finished steel products VNMI was established in 2000, uniting more than 80% of the players in the steel industry in the Netherlands.
The association represents Dutch steelworkers in European business associations in The Hague and Brussels. VNMI focuses on four areas: health and safety, energy and climate, sustainability and corporate social responsibility, trade and innovation.
It is noted that Metinvest Group has been developing these areas since its creation. The company supports global initiatives and participates in international environmental projects. In 2010, Metinvest joined the UN Global Compact.

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Revenue of Metinvest B.V. (the Netherlands), the parent company of the Metinvest mining and metallurgical group, fell by 7.5% or by $77 million in April compared with the previous month, to $954 million from $1.031 billion.
According to the preliminary unaudited consolidated monthly financial statements of the company, published on Thursday, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in April was $173 million, which is 6% ($11 million) more than in March of the current year ($184 million).
According to the report, the adjusted EBITDA of the metallurgical division of the group in April 2019 was $53 million ($46 million in March), including $1 million from participation in the joint venture (minus $2 million). The mining division’s EBITDA is $151 million ($148 million in March), including from the joint venture – $28 million ($19 million). The expenses of the management company were $2 million ($8 million).
Total revenue in April 2019 consisted of the sales of the metallurgical division in the amount of $791 million ($844 million in March), mining – $305 million ($340 million), and intra-group sales – $142 ($152 million).
The total debt of the company in April increased $72 million compared to March, to $2.754 billion from $2.828 billion. At the same time, cash and its equivalents increased by $113 million, to $331 million from $218 million.

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Metinvest, the largest Ukrainian mining and metallurgical holding, in 2018 ranked 42nd in the list of the world’s largest steel producers with a volume of 9.37 million tonnes compared to the 42nd place in 2017 with a volume of 9.59 million tonnes of steel, the 37th place in 2016 with 10.34 million tonnes of steel, the 40th place in 2015 with 9.65 million tonnes, and the 33th place in 2014 with 11.18 million tonnes.
According to the rating announced by the World Steel Association (Worldsteel), ArcelorMittal remained the largest steel maker last year with a production volume of 96.42 million tonnes (97.03 million tonnes in 2017).
There are no Ukrainian companies, except for Metinvest, in the list of the 50 largest world steel producers in 2018, as well as in 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2014. The Industrial Union of Donbas Corporation (ISD), which ranked 44th in 2013 with a production volume of 7.9 million tonnes, in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 dropped out of the leaderboard.



Consolidated net profit of Metinvest B.V. (the Netherlands), the parent company of the Metinvest international vertically integrated mining and metallurgical group, grew by 93% in 2018 compared with 2017, to $1.188 billion from $617 million.
According to the audited financial statements published on Thursday, revenue rose by 335, to $11.88 billion from $8.931 billion, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) increased 23%, to $2.513 billion from $2.044 billion. Gross profit rose by 28%, to $2.787 billion.
The total debt of the company fell by 9%, to $2.743 billion, and cash and cash equivalents grew by 8%, to $280 million.
“In 2018, Metinvest delivered some of its best results in the last four years, proving that it has indeed turned a corner through proactive operational, strategic and financial management,” Chief Executive Officer of Metinvest Yuriy Ryzhenkov said, commenting on the results.
“The operational results were decent: production rose by 3% year-on-year for hot metal, was largely unchanged for crude steel and iron ore concentrate, jumped by 11% for coke and climbed by 9% for coal,” he said.
Amid this, the group reinvigorated its CAPEX programme in the year, spending nearly $900 million to modernise and catch up on deferred maintenance of assets in the largest such outlay since 2011. Metinvest’s Technological Strategy 2030, which serves as a roadmap to guide the group in fulfilling its strategic priorities, aims to strengthen core production processes to lay a solid foundation for future upgrades to downstream facilities.
Among others, the main achievement of the Mariupol steelmakers was the construction of continuous casting machine No. 4 at Illich Steel, which was completed without major delays and on budget. The machine has eliminated casting bottlenecks and effectively expanded the plant’s annual crude steel production capacity by around 40% to 4.3 million tonnes.
“Importantly, around one third of the project cost was financed using long-term funding guaranteed by the Austrian export credit agency,” Ryzhenkov said.
At the iron ore producers, Metinvest is conducting an extensive heavy truck fleet upgrade to improve output volumes and production efficiency. At Northern GOK and Central GOK, pelletising machines are undergoing large-scale maintenance to allow the group to further capitalise on strong pellet premiums, he said.
Metinvest remains committed to securing its long-term future. To this end, in 2018, the group acquired minority stakes in two assets that are an ideal fit for the business model and will help to strengthen vertical integration and improve resilience to economic cycles. The stakes of 24.99% in the Pokrovske coal business and 23.71% in Yuzhcoke will secure long-term supplies of high-quality Ukrainian coking coal and coke to improve Metinvest’s self-sufficiency in these key inputs.
Underpinned by favourable steel and iron ore prices and ongoing economic growth in Ukraine, the Group delivered its strongest financial results in 2018. Revenues soared by 33% year-on-year due to an enhanced focus on priority markets, while EBITDA rose by 23% year-on year, with both the steel and mining segments contributing equally. Free cash flow generation for the reporting period reached $673 million, up nearly five-fold year-on-year, driven by the robust EBITDA and dividends from a mining joint venture.
“After successfully refinancing its bonds and pre-export facility, Metinvest has normalised its debt portfolio to achieve a sustainable maturity profile, improving the investment case as a result. These achievements received official acclaim when the transaction won the Emerging EMEA Bond of 2018 nomination in the International Financing Review annual awards,” the top manager said.
“In 2019, global iron ore and steel prices are an ongoing source of uncertainty. Trade tensions and concerns about a potential global economic slowdown are creating price pressure. This year will also bring presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine, which could cause some turbulence,” Ryzhenkov said.
At the same time, Metinvest will continue to prioritise improving operational performance and implementing the long-term upgrade programme; emphasising health and safety, of both staff and contractors; and reducing environmental impact.
“I would like to thank our clients, investors, creditors, employees and other stakeholders for their support during 2018,” he said.



Revenue of Metinvest B.V. (the Netherlands), the parent company of the Metinvest mining and metal group, fell by 6.4% in May 2018 or by $68 million compared with the previous month, to $998 million from $1.066 billion. According to a monthly report based on preliminary financial results, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in May totaled $224 million, which is 3% or $7 million more than in April ($231 million).
According to the report, adjusted EBITDA of the metallurgical division of the group in May 2018 totaled $133 million, including $17 million from participation in JVs, EBITDA of the mining division was $87 million, including $14 million from participation in JVs. Corporate overheads totaled $5 million.
Total revenue in May consisted of revenue of the metallurgical division in the amount of $875 million, the mining division – $262 million and eliminations were -$139 million. Total debt of the company in May fell by $229 million compared with April, to $2.977 billion. Cash and cash equivalents fell by $375 million, to $268 million. Net cash used in investing activities totaled $68 million and net cash used in financing activities were $200 million.

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