- Ukraine will import half of its gas this year from Russia’s Gazprom – but at a price 27.4% below the price of fall 2014, Andriy Kobolev, CEO of Naftogaz, said Tuesday on national TV, according to UNIAN. Under the Stockholm Arbitration decision of last month, the price was cut and the volume that Naftogaz is to buy over the next two years is 10% of earlier contracted volumes. Kobolev said that Russian gas will be cheaper than gas now coming from Europe.
- Foreign lawyers will able to participate in a tender to help Ukraine seize $3.4 billion of Gazprom assets around the world, Sergei Shklyar, Deputy Justice Minister, told UNIAN Tuesday. The amount is a fine imposed by the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine on Gazprom for abusing its dominant market position and violating EU anti-trust laws. After Ukraine’s Supreme Economic Court ruled against the Russian gas company last May, Justice Minister Pavel Petrenko said that Gazprom did not have $3.4 billion worth of assets in Ukraine.
- In May, work is to start on a joint Canadian-Ukrainian space port and launch vehicle, Steve Matier, CEO of Canada’s Maritime Launch Services, tells Interfax. After the first launch, tentatively in July, 2020, the center in Nova Scotia aims to launch each year eight Ukrainian rockets made at Dnipro’s Pivdenne (Yuzhnoye) Design Bureau. Matier said he has lined up about US$320 million in launch business from Canadian and international customers. Lindsay Construction, the largest construction firm in Atlantic Canada, will build the spaceport in Canso, an eastern Nova Scotia village overlooking the North Atlantic.
- Moving to defend the hryvnia, the National Bank of Ukraine sold at auction $47.3 million on Tuesday at a rate of up to 28.86 UAH for the dollar. Timothy Ash writes: “NBU stepping up intervention – saying: ‘enough is enough’, in terms of UAH weakness. Ironically, UAH weakness more likely puts pressure on Poroshenko to do the right thing on the IMF/reform and anti-corruption front.”
- Square meters of housing construction increased by 23% last year, Henadiy Zubko, Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Utilities Services, told reporters Tuesday. Citing a cut in bureaucratic tape, he said permit refusals were 2%, far below the 50% of a few years ago. He said Ukraine approved 13 new construction standards designed to harmonize with European standards.
- IT workers will more than double by 2025, to 242,000, the IT Ukraine Association forecasts. With this expanded workforce, Ukraine’s IT exports will also more than double, hitting $8.4 billion in 2025. Of today’s 116,000 IT workers, 72% are men, the average age is 30, and the average salary is $1,600, high by Ukrainian standards. Of the nation’s 16 IT clusters, the top five, ranked by number of workers, are: Kyiv, Dnipro, Lviv and Kharkiv, with Odesa.
- Industrial production in Ukraine was flat last year, breaking a 2.4% recovery in 2016, the State Statistics Service reports. The 2016 growth ended four years of declines, notably 13% in 2015 and 10.1% in 2014. Last year, the processing industry grew by 4%, but that was offset by a 5.8% fall in mining and a 6.5% fall in gas and electricity. By year’s end, industrial production had contracted by 0.1%.
- With a new privatization law to go into effect shortly, the State Property Fund released Tuesday a 23-page list of 400 “small” state-owned properties that will go up for auction this year. “Children's camps, cinemas, offices, dining rooms, shops, garages, common property complexes and even ships,” Vitaly Trubarov, acting head of the Fund, wrote on Facebook. “Almost 400 objects that can work and generate income, both to new efficient owners, and to the state in the form of jobs and taxes.” The list is in Ukrainian and Russians are not allowed to bid.
- Ukrainian-American entrepreneur and engineer Igor Pasternak is creating a American-Ukrainian Industrial Investment Fund. Pasternak, CEO of Worldwide Aeros Corp, a California airship manufacturer, writes on his Facebook page the fund’s priority will be "joint projects and developments in the Ukrainian defense and space sector."
- OLX, Ukraine’s top online trading post, reports that the average purchase increased 7% last year, to 1,300 hryvnia, currently $45. The site hosted 11.9 million ads last year. The most popular search queries were: bicycle, sofa, dress, jacket, motorbike, apartment and various bands of mobile phones.
- GetmanCar, Ukraine’s first car sharing company, now is working in Kyiv, reports Taras Getmansky, the founder and CEO. The service has 100 cars, largely Skoda Fabia and Daewoo Ravon R2, both compact urban cars. Seeing room for growth, he said: "Kyiv needs about 3 to 4,000 car-sharing cars for the whole city.” Hourly rental rates at UAH59 or $2. Getmansky says he plans to expand to Ukraine’s other major cities.
- Kyiv’s Metro subway is holding a tender for a 7km, 3-station extension of the Green Line, northwest from Syrets station to the Vynohradar neighborhood. Participants should register by Feb. 19 for a tender that will be held March 7. The estimated cost is $225 million.
- UIA increased its passenger traffic last year by 16.4%, well below the 27.6% increase in traffic flow recorded last year at all of Ukraine’s airports. By far the nation’s largest carrier, Ukraine International Airlines carried almost 7 million passengers, or 42 percent of Ukraine’s total. UIA’s strategy of turning Kyiv’s Boryspil into an international hub proved successful as the share of transit passengers on UIA flights hit 54%. With most of UIA flights operating out of Boryspil, 89% percent of UIA passengers went through the airport, the nation’s largest.
- Ukraine is negotiating visa free – or easy visa – regimes with 20 more countries, Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told reporters Tuesday. Noting that Ukrainians have visa free access to 85 countries, he said: "We are currently conducting negotiations for either full liberalization or visa facilitation with more than 20 countries. We hope to achieve decisive progress with them over the next two years."
- Marriott will open its first Aloft brand hotel in Ukraine, in Kyiv, on May 1, just in time for the May 26 UEFA Champions League Final at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex. With 310 rooms, the new hotel will located two blocks from the football stadium, at Esplanadna 17, behind Gulliver business center.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org