Astarta agroindustrial holding, the largest sugar producer in Ukraine, cut sugar sales by 20% in July-September 2018 year-over-year, to 88,040 tonnes.
According to a company report on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) on Wednesday, wheat sales over the period grew by 18%, to 143,680 tonnes, sunflower – by 30%, to 1,250 tonnes, soybean meal – by 6%, to 29,190 tonnes, while maize sales fell by 56.5%, to 10,790 tonnes, barley – by 88.9%, to 640 tonnes, and soybean oil – by 54.6%, to 4,480 tonnes.
Milk sales shrank by 6%, reaching 24,270 tonnes.
Astarta is a vertically integrated agro-industrial holding operating in Poltava, Vinnytsia, Khmelnytsky, Ternopil, Zhytomyr, Chernihiv, Cherkasy and Kharkiv regions.
Sugar production in Ukraine as of October 9, 2018 totaled 420,000 tonnes.
The Ukrtsukor national association of sugar producers said that 37 sugar refineries had been operating as of October 9, which refined 3.38 million tonnes of sugar beets.
As reported, Ukraine officially opened a new sugar refining season on August 31. This year, areas with sugar beet total 280,000 hectares, which is 13% less than last year.
Ukraine exported 560,400 tonnes of sugar in the 2017/18 agricultural year (September-August), which is 27.2% less than in the previous year.
Production of sugar in the 2017/2018 marketing year increased by 6.5%, to 2.14 million tonnes. Some 46 sugar refineries were in operation during that season.
Ukraine in the 2018/2019 marketing year (MY, September through August) could reduce sugar output by 5.5% and boost its exports by 13%, according to the National Sugar Producers Association Ukrtsukor. “In the 2018/2019 season, Ukraine and Russia will see a decrease in sugar production – by 5.5% and 11%, respectively, but Belarus is expected to see growth by 13%. At the same time, sugar exports from Ukraine and Russia will increase by 13% and 7%, respectively, while Belarus will see a slight decrease – by 5%. In addition, tough competition for the sales markets will continue,” head of the analytical service of the Sucden Group of Companies (CIS) Marina Sidak was quoted as saying.
According to her, due to the negative demographic situation in Ukraine, there will be a decrease in domestic consumption. At the same time, there is a risk of a reduction in Ukrainian rail transportation of sugar due to a shortage of covered wagons.
As reported with reference to Ukrtsukor, Ukraine in the current MY will reduce sugar exports by at least 25% compared to the previous MY.
Production of sugar in the 2017/2018 MY increased by 6.5%, to 2.14 million tonnes.
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.