Business news from Ukraine

IMC is considering two projects to develop corn processing and plans to increase production

In 2024, IMC Agro Holding intends to expand corn crops and return to pre-war agricultural technology, and is also studying two projects to develop processing, the decision on which will be made in May-June, said Alex Lissitsa, SEO of the agricultural holding, at the Forbes Agrifood conference.

“During the two years of war, we have come a long way. We had 120 thousand hectares and 6 elevators. 100 thousand hectares and 5 elevators were under occupation. As a result of the de-occupation, we managed to enter our territory. However, some facilities were destroyed,” he said.

According to him, the new large dairy farm of the agricultural holding, located on the border with Belarus, had to be closed due to the poor condition of the cows after the occupation, as well as the almost completely destroyed logistics infrastructure around Chernihiv, where all bridges were destroyed.

In the first year, 30 thousand hectares of the agricultural holding’s land were in the war zone and were partially mined. The second year of the war was a stage of rethinking for IMC, and in the third year they managed to reach more or less the planned indicators, explained the SEO of the agricultural holding.

According to him, in 2022, IMC was unable to sow its land and grew mainly wheat. In 2024, the agroholding will return to traditional technological maps and expand the area under corn, as in 2023 it managed to get a record harvest of 20 tons per hectare. IMC was able to achieve such results thanks to favorable weather conditions that offset the problem of fertilizer and pesticide shortages. In addition, the agroholding has the necessary capacity to store corn.

Mr. Lissitsa also noted that IMC refused to cooperate with international traders who behaved incorrectly towards most Ukrainian customers. Currently, IMC prefers to cooperate with the domestic grain trader Nibulon, through which it sells about 70% of its products. IMC has also found new suppliers of sunflower seeds – Ukrainian regional companies in Chernihiv region.

“We used to build relationships with large foreign traders, and now we are establishing partnerships with those we have not communicated with before. We were beautiful, fashionable, and it was not very fun to work with them. And now we realized that we are basically still beautiful, but not so fashionable. And we need to work with local businesses. They offered us a helping hand and we started working again. Now we are really rethinking. Many contracts with international traders are still in court. I don’t know when they will end. Huge amounts of money are stuck there. It is really easier for us to drive up to our neighbors, negotiate and shake hands,” stated the IMC SEO.

Lissitsa also said that most agricultural holdings have not invested in machinery over the past two years, but have been living off the purchase of spare parts, and thus most of the agricultural machinery has been produced.

At the same time, the IMC is considering two processing projects in parallel – one with the EBRD and the other with the IFC.

“I can’t tell you yet, but we are looking at these projects very, very closely and will make a decision in May-June this year,” Lissitsa said.

The agroholding’s SEO emphasized that IMC has no problems with financing and has established partnerships with a number of banking institutions.

“Last year, we were probably one of the first in the agricultural sector to receive a new loan from the EBRD during the war. Raiffeisen financed us for the purchase of machinery. Credit Agricole is now adding more,” Lissitsa summarized and advised farmers to establish transparent relations with banks and be ready to provide them with all the information to get financing for new projects.

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Grossdorf launches production of fertilizers for retail sales

Grossdorf, an agrochemical company specializing in the production of granular and liquid mineral fertilizers, has decided to expand its product range by developing a line of products for retail, according to the industry analytical publication Infoindustriya.

“Entering the retail market opens up new opportunities for growth and expansion of the consumer audience. The company believes in the quality of its products and is ready to meet the needs of retail customers with the same dedication it shows in the agrochemical sector,” said Andriy Khalyavka, CEO of the agrochemical company.

According to him, in 2023, Grossdorf produced about 20 thousand tons of different formulas of NPK fertilizers. In addition, the company became the second largest supplier of UAN in Ukraine in 2023 and produced more than 106 thsd tonnes of this fertilizer. In addition, Grossdorf produces granular potassium chloride, NPK fertilizers and granular (compacted) ammonium sulfate.

“In total, the manufacturer supplied more than 150 thousand tons of fertilizers to the market last year, becoming the second largest fertilizer producer in Ukraine,” InfoIndustry summarized.

Grossdorf LLC was established in 2001. The company is a mineral fertilizer producer, one of the leaders in the production of UAN in Ukraine, an importer, supplier and end consumer of mineral fertilizers. The company has its own plant in Odesa region for the production of liquid fertilizers (UAN, UAN, UAN), a storage facility for liquid fertilizers with a capacity of over 10 thousand tons, facilities for the production of bulk granular fertilizers, and an extensive network of agrochemical warehouses in almost all regions of Ukraine.

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Manufacturer of paper products under TM “Snow Panda” increased production by 2.5 times

Blumi LLC (Odesa), a manufacturer of sanitary and hygienic paper products under the Snow Panda brand, produced UAH 41.92 million worth of products in January, up 2.5 times compared to the same month in 2023.

According to statistics provided by UkrPapir Association to Interfax-Ukraine, in physical terms, the production of toilet paper increased by 78.5% to 6.2 million rolls.

As reported, in January, the main producers of sanitary paper products produced 54.56 million rolls of paper, up 27% year-on-year.

Bloomi, which was registered in 2014, produces sanitary products (toilet paper, napkins, towels) based on pulp from imported raw paper. The products are manufactured at the facilities of Omega Brokers PE, one of the leading Ukrainian manufacturers of detergents, disinfectants and sanitary products.

In 2023, the company almost doubled its production volume compared to 2022, to UAH 367.3 million.


Plus 12%: Centravis increased production in 2023

Nikopol-based seamless stainless steel pipe manufacturer Centravis increased its production to 12.2 thousand tons in 2023, up 12% year-on-year. However, the production situation may deteriorate if the government does not start paying back VAT arrears.
Almost all the products were exported. In total, in 2023, the company exported seamless stainless steel pipes to 38 countries. Most of them were shipped to Germany, Italy, and the United States.
The EU countries were in the highest demand, followed by the US market, and then the Asian and Middle Eastern markets. In particular, Centravis has fulfilled orders for companies from Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Oman, the UAE, etc.
“In 2023, we realized that the war could last for a long time and we must be prepared for it. There is no point in postponing something that will make your product better today. Similarly, you should not refuse to enter new markets or stop working with your team. We can’t just stand still and try to get through these difficult days, because we have no idea what the timeframe of the war is. Therefore, we are moving forward, improving our products, working with new projects and clients. I believe that our team passed the year 2023 with dignity,” said Yuriy Atanasov, CEO of Centravis.
Another important achievement of the past year was the opening of a new production facility in Uzhhorod. It specializes in tool pipes for the world’s leading automotive brands (Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Chevrolet). The total investment amounted to over UAH 50 million. The new plant employs about 100 people, and in 2024 it is planned to expand and build the second stage.

At the same time, there is a big problem that hinders the company as much as the shelling by Russian troops. It is the VAT refund.
“The state’s debt to the company is over €10 million. It has never been like this in 30 years of operation. We won the courts, but a court decision cannot pay salaries and buy raw materials. I hope this issue will be resolved soon, as it is difficult for us to operate under the double pressure of the war and VAT arrears,” emphasized Yuriy Atanasov.
According to Centravis representatives, in 2023, the company took part in a number of notable projects. These include a project to produce hydrogen-powered cars in the EU, construction of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), development of onshore oil and gas wells in the United States, and construction of a new power plant in Alabama (USA). The company also represented the Ukrainian industry at the Adipec international exhibition in Abu Dhabi with its own exposition.
Centravis is currently one of the world’s ten largest producers of seamless stainless steel pipes. The company has production facilities in the cities of Nikopol and Uzhhorod, as well as sales offices in countries such as the United States, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, and the United Arab Emirates, and cooperates with Benteler Automotive, Buhlmann Group, Webco, and others – with various companies on different continents.
Last year, Centravis was ranked among the top 200 leaders in the Ukrainian economy.


Kokhavyno Paper Mill increases production by 9%

Kokhava Paper Mill (KBF, Lviv region), which produces sanitary paper products, increased its production by 8.7% in January 2014 compared to January 2013, to UAH 102.94 million, according to statistics from Ukrpapir Association.

According to the data provided to Interfax-Ukraine, in physical terms, production of the base paper for sanitary products increased by 1.7% to 3.6 thousand tons.

Last month, production of toilet paper in rolls increased by 12.3% to 12.7 million units. KBF retains the second place in terms of its output after Kyiv pulp and paper mill (21.3 million units).

As reported, in October last year, Kokhava Pulp and Paper Mill commissioned a paper machine with an estimated capacity of 25 thousand tons per year to produce pulp base paper (previously it produced only waste paper-based products), creating up to 200 new jobs.

To organize such production in 2021, the pulp mill attracted a EUR 13.8 million loan from the EBRD.

Operating since 1939, the Kokhava Paper Mill produces the base paper for sanitary and hygiene products, as well as toilet paper and paper towels. Before the new machine was put into operation, the mill had two paper machines with a total capacity of 40 thousand tons of base paper per year.

In 2023, the mill increased its production by 18% compared to 2022, to UAH 1 billion 151.2 million.


“Zaporozhkoks” reduced production by 2.1%

Zaporozhkoks, one of Ukraine’s largest coke and chemical producers and part of Metinvest Group, reduced blast furnace coke production by 2.1% year-on-year to 71.32 thousand tons from 72.86 thousand tons in January this year.

According to the company, 71.9 thousand tons of coke were produced in December 2023.

As reported, Zaporozhkoks increased its blast furnace coke output by 16% in 2023 compared to 2022, up to 856.8 thousand tons from 737.4 thousand tons.

“Zaporozhkoks produces about 10% of coke in Ukraine and has a full technological cycle of coke products processing. It also produces coke oven gas and pitch coke.

“Metinvest is a vertically integrated mining group of companies. Its major shareholders are SCM Group (71.24%) and Smart Holding (23.76%), which jointly manage the company.

Metinvest Holding LLC is the management company of Metinvest Group.