The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will issue a long-term loan of up to $20 million to Astarta, a Ukrainian agro-industrial holding, to finance working capital necessary for plant growing, sugar beets and soybeans processing. EBRD Senior Adviser on External Relations Anton Usov told Interfax-Ukraine the board of directors made a corresponding decision at a meeting on July 18.
The bank says its funding will also contribute to improving efficiency and productivity through the introduction of modern IT solutions and farming practices and support of stronger ties with local suppliers.
According to information on the EBRD’s website, the overall valuation of the project is estimated at $242 million.
As reported, the EBRD in October 2017 issued a $25 million loan to Astarta for seven years for the construction and purchase of sugar and grain storage facilities.
Astarta is a vertically integrated agro-industrial holding that operates in eight regions of Ukraine. The holding includes eight sugar factories, agricultural enterprises with a land bank of about 250,000 hectares and dairy farms.
Ukraine exported 67,600 tonnes of sugar in June of the current marketing year (2017/2018 MY, September through August), which is 25% more than in the previous month, the National Association of Sugar Producers, Ukrtsukor, has reported. “Large batches of sugar in June were shipped to Uzbekistan (51%), Libya (35%), while smaller batches were exported to Azerbaijan (5%), Armenia and Georgia (3% each),” the head of the association’s analytical department Ruslana Butylo has said.
In the 10 months of the current MY (since September 2017), Ukrainian producers exported 501,000 tonnes of sugar, which is 32% less than in the same period last year.
“This year, sugar beet crops are sown on 280,000 hectares, which is 13% less than last year. According to the Association forecasts, the production of sugar beets will decrease by approximately 10% and will fluctuate around 13.1 million tonnes, thus the production of sugar will be about 1.75 million tonnes,” the association said.
As reported, Ukraine in 2016/2017 MY increased sugar exports by 6.8 times, 769,300 tonnes.
Agro-industrial holding Astarta, Ukraine’s largest sugar producer, wants to keep EUR 61.84 million in net profit for the financial year 2017 undistributed. This decision is on the agenda of a meeting of the holding’s shareholders scheduled for May 25.
In addition, the shareholders will consider the re-appointment of Viktor Ivanchyk, Viktor Hladky and Marc Van Campen as board members, along with the appointment of Gilles Mettetal as non-executive director and resignation of Vladyslav Bartoshevsky as non-executive director and deputy chairman of the board of directors.
Another issue on the agenda is the appointment of Zeljko Erceg as Chief Operating Officer of Astarta Kyiv LLC. He will temporarily head the company in case the entire board is temporarily unable to perform duties.
In addition, the shareholders may decide on the prolongation of the buyback program for another 18 months (from the date of the shareholders’ meeting). The company can buy out no more than 2.5 million shares at a price not higher than PLN125 per share.
The agenda also includes the issue of authorizing the board of directors to organize the issue of shares to the amount of up to 10% of current issued and paid-in share capital, as well as the restriction or cancellation of any existing pre-emption rights in shares. All actions are carried out within one year, starting from the date of the annual meeting of shareholders whose permission cannot be withdrawn.
Ukrainian producers in March 2018 exported 47,200 tonnes of sugar, which is 15% more than in the previous month. According to the press service of Ukrtsukor, the main deliveries in March were carried out to the former Soviet Union states and Africa.
“Some 50% of all supplies in March were made to Uzbekistan. In quantitative terms this is 23,500 tonnes. In addition, shipments to Turkey amounted to 7,900 tonnes, Somali to 3,700 tonnes, Tajikistan to 2,900 tonnes, Benin to 1,800 tonnes and other countries to 7,300 tonnes,” the head of the Ukrtsukor analytical department, Ruslana Butylo, said.
Sugar exports in September-March of the 2017/2018 marketing year (MY) amounted to 338,100 tonnes. As reported, sugar production in the 2017/2018 MY grew by 6.5% and is 2.14 million tonnes of sugar. Some 46 sugar refineries were operating during the season. According to the forecasts of the association, the area under sugar beets in 2018 will be about 285,000 hectares.