Astarta agricultural and industrial holding, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, has invested $71 million in the development of grain infrastructure under the Grain of Astarta investment program launched in 2014. According to a posting of the company on its Facebook page, over the past two years Astarta build four silos in Poltava region and bought Krasyliv silo in Khmelnytsky region.
“The grain infrastructure development program, launched by the company in 2014, has so far been implemented in the form of seven modern (both newly-built and modernized) silos with a total capacity of 550,000 tonnes, as well as its own fleet of 200 railway cars,” the agricultural holding said.
In general, since the beginning of the program, the company has invested $71 million in this direction.
“Starting Grain of Astarta as a program for expanding facilities for our own needs, we have reached the level of providing services and developing eco-systems that are formed around our infrastructure facilities. And we do not stop there. We see great prospects for development and are considering new partnership projects in Chernihiv and Poltava regions,” Astarta Executive Officer Valeriy Sokolenko said.
Astarta is a vertically integrated agribusiness holding operating in eight regions of Ukraine. The holding includes eight sugar factories, agricultural enterprises with a land bank of 243,000 hectares and dairy farms, a biogas plant and a soybean processing complex in Poltava region.
Astarta agro-industrial holding, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, increased sugar sales by 13% in April-June 2018 compared to the same period in 2017, to 91,740 tonnes, the company said on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
According to a press release, sales of corn fell by 5%, to 97,990 tonnes, wheat from 80,710 tonnes to 1,510 tonnes, barley from 4,310 tonnes to 70 tonnes, whereas sunflower rose by 3.3 times, to 25,920 tonnes.
Sales of soybean oil decreased by 14%, to 9,240 tonnes, soybean meal by 11%, to 35,880 tonnes, milk by 1%, to 26,410 tonnes.
The company says that at the same time average sugar prices for this period decreased by 23%, those for wheat by 16%, for soybean oil by 2%, for corn increased by 14%, for sunflower and milk by 11%, for soybean meal by 15%.
Taking into account the given data, the total sales of these products by Astarta in the second quarter of this year amounted to UAH 2.5 billion, which is 10.9% less than in the second quarter of last year.
Astarta agroindustrial complex, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, in July will launch three grain storage complexes in Poltava region: Yareski grain silo (with the capacity of 100,000 tonnes), Lutovynivka grain silo (100,000 tonnes) and Skorokchodove grain silo (30,000 tonnes)
According to the press release of the company, total CAPEХ for the projects was around EUR 32 million.
“Two intake lines with 150 mt/hr capacity each are in operation at Yareski and Lutovynivka silos and one 150 mt/hr line at Skorokchodove silo. All are equipped with an automatic control system and necessary transport infrastructure,” the company said.
The new silos are to operate starting from this harvesting campaign. New facilities are aimed to cover both Astarta subsidiaries’ and local partners’ needs.
With the launching of these three silos, Astarta’s grain storage investment program (started in 2015 aiming at over 500,000 tonnes) is around 70% fulfilled. Thus, the company operates five modern grain silos in Poltava, Vinnytsia and Khmelnytsky regions and plans to undertake further steps aimed at meeting the mentioned program target.
Astarta agroindustrial holding, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, in January-March 2018 saw an 86% fall in net profit year-over-year, to UAH 124.3 million, the company has said on the website of the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE). According to the press release, revenue over the period fell by 28.7%, to UAH 3.04 billion, gross profit – 58.3%, to UAH 623.032 million and operating profit – 86%, to UAH 141.36 million.
There are several reasons for this: markets cyclicality, macroeconomic factors, as well as a high comparison base. “Our view is that results should be regarded in a long-term context, so as not to distract from the bigger picture,” the company said.
In euros net profit fell by 88%, to EUR 3.7 million and revenue fell by 38.8%, to EUR 90.59 million.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell by 70%, to EUR 13.47 million as a result of significant contraction of the global and local sugar prices as well as bad weather conditions in the Poltava region contributed to a higher cost in sugar and farming.
At the same time, when one takes a longer-term view, there are several reassuring thoughts. The group is currently moving through the bottom part of the commodities cycle with low debt, a strong balance sheet, constantly increasing operational efficiency, and a healthy combination of local sales and export.
“There were several similar periods in Astarta’s 25-year history, when the challenges made our company stronger and provided for new growth opportunities,” the company said. With strong support from our financial partners – development and international banks, the company continue its investment program to expand storage infrastructure, further streamline farming operations, and become closer to our end-customers.