A Stockholm arbitration court has ruled that Russia’s Gazprom must pay Ukraine’s Naftogaz $2.6 billion in debt, ending a four-year legal battle. “This is a real victory,” President Poroshenko said on learning the decision Wednesday evening. "This is a historic decision to protect the national and financial interests of Ukraine." He said the money “will be credited immediately” to Naftogaz. Andriy Kobolyev, Naftogaz board chairman, tweeted: "We are pleased to have won arbitration on key issues. This is an important day for the Ukrainian people and the future of the European gas markets.” Gazprom confirmed the court’s ruling on its $2.6 billion debt to Naftogaz.
Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyluk says the European Commission has approved a new Macro-Financial Assistance program for Ukraine. He wrote Wednesday on Facebook: "I welcome the decision to approve a new financial assistance program for Ukraine.” Over the last four years, the European Commission has mobilized EUR 3.4 billion in macro-financial assistance through three programs of low-interest loans. Of this, EUR 2.8 billion were disbursed. Last December, the Commission balked at disbursing the final EUR 600 million, citing slow progress on IMF-mandated reforms. Carnegie Europe’s Gwendolyn Sasse wrote Monday: “EU macro-financial assistance is meant to be aligned with the IMF, but the EU has repeatedly taken a more flexible approach to its aid disbursement.”
Ukraine’s first toll highway would connect Lviv with the Polish border, Slawomir Nowak, CEO of Ukravtodor, Ukraine's road management agency, said after the Rada approved a toll road bill. Running parallel to a heavily congested, 70 km stretch of the M 10 highway, this east-west toll road “will contribute to the expansion of economic ties between Ukraine and EU countries," Nowak said. He aims for a signing this year of a concession contract allowing construction.
President Poroshenko supports a proposal in the Rada to open an energy exchange creating market prices for gas. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, he said: “An energy exchange must be created in Ukraine. We must choose either we have communism/socialism and prices will be set … by officials or they will be determined by the market - demand and supply, taking into account imports.”
Ukraine’s State Geology Service will auction permits for four oil and gas fields in April, Oleg Kirilyuk, head of the service, Gosgeonriedr, said Wednesday at the Ukrainian Energy Forum-2018 in Kyiv. Kirilyuk complained that one out of four permits are not used and fees are not paid.
The EU will sign an agreement with Ukraine in March to fund the new Energy Efficiency Fund with EUR 50 million according to Katarina Mathernova, a Slovak lawyer who is European Commission Deputy Director General for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement.
Auctions of the Odessa Port Plant and of Zaporizhia Aluminum Smelter are now to be in May. Two other privatizations have been delayed. Sale of the Kherson CHP will be this month and Rigging will be in October. The government has hoped to radically expand privatization earnings this year, from $7 million last year to $788 million this year.
ProZorro.Sale, Ukraine's electronic auction platform for selling state properties, won an international competition of anti-corruption projects, "Shield in the Cloud," the Economic Development and Trade Ministry reports. Launched in 2016, ProZorro.Sale has helped the government to sell about $222 million of toxic bank assets through online auctions.
Chinese, Dutch and Cyprus companies are vying for a tender to dredge Ukraine’s two Sea of Azov ports, Mariupol and Berdyansk, according to the Sea Ports Authority. The Chinese bidder was China Harbor Engineering company Ltd., which last month completed dredging Yuzhny, Ukraine’s busiest port. The winner is to be announced in April for the Azov dredging project, which is expected to cost about $20 million.
Prime Minister Groysman is to lead a new commission to protect businesses from unlawful inspections and pressure from security forces. Approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday, the commission will include ministers, the Ombudsman and leaders of the European Business Association and the American Chamber of Commerce of Ukraine, Interfax reports.
Amazon has bought an American company, Ring Inc. for $1 billion. Drawing attention of the Ukraine media was Ring’s failure to mention that for two years it has run a 38-worker R & D center in Kyiv. The press release only lists Ring’s offices in Amsterdam and seven American cities. Ukr.Media writes: “The fact that on the website of the parent company, Ring, there is no mention of the R & D office in Ukraine…most likely indicates that the American company does not advertise its connection with Ukraine.”
Ukraine’s crop production increased by 7.3% last year, and animal husbandry - by 30.7%, the State Statistics Service reports. During the year, the cost of crop production increased by 9.7%, and cost of animal husbandry by 22%.
Low wages and security concerns are the main causes of labor migration from Ukraine, according to Ella Libanova, Director of the Institute of Demography and Social Studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. “Many parents want their boys to go because they are afraid for their children, as military operations are taking place in the country.” She cited survey findings by Rating, a sociological group: 35% of Ukrainians want to permanently emigrate; 72% of people planning to work abroad are going for higher wages; and 70% of respondents say they want their children or grandchildren to study abroad.
Yaroslav, a Kyiv-based producer of textiles and bed sheets, plans to continue investing $1 million a year to modernize textile mills in Ukraine, Alexander Barsuk, director of the company tells Business news site. Making sheets, blankets, blankets, mattresses, children goods, kitchen towels, the company has factories in seven cities in Ukraine. Barsuk said: “For example, in Sumy region, we bought a weaving factory in Krolevets, a depressed region. Seventy people work in the factory, but by next summer we plan to increase the number of employees to 300."
KTD Group plans to start producing energy-saving refrigerators in May in Cherkasy, the Dnipro River city 200 km south of Kyiv. The new factory is to have the capacity to make 300,000 units a year, Alexander Gromyko, president of KTD Group, tells Interfax. For exports to Europe, Gromyko said, “Ukrainian producers can replace Chinese companies” due to location, zero tariff market access and wage rates one third those of China.
Danish engineering company BIIR was awarded building ownership by the Odesa Appellate Economic Court on Tuesday. The dispute that won wide media attention --https://theubj.com/news/view/below-odesas-tourism-... A former owner of the building learned that a shopping center was to be built next door and then tried to use local police and courts to wrest control away from the foreign investor. BIIR Chairman Thomas Sillesen has said the building, overlooking Odesa port, is key to his plans to expand his Odesa staff to 500.
Air Azur Ukraine launches March 25 a once a week flight from Kharkiv to Barcelona. The airline already flies from Kyiv Boryspil to Barcelona.