Welcome to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council
Washington, D.C. (www.usubc.org)
USUBC Business Journal #4
Washington, D.C., Friday, January 11, 2008
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

Monthly Analytical Report: By Olga Pogarska, Edilberto L. Segura
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group,
The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, January 11, 2008
Interview: with Pavlo Prokopovych, Ph.D.,
Kyiv Economics Institute and the Kyiv School of Economics.
The Ukrainian Observer, The Willard Group,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 1, 2008

By Quentin Peel, International Affairs Editor
Financial Times, London, UK, Monday, December 24 2007

James Hydzik, Business Ukraine magazine
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 7, 2008

Ken Bossong, Ukrainian-American Environmental Association
Washington, D.C., Thursday, January 10, 2008
Journal Staff and Wire Reports, Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island, Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Oxford Business Group, UK, Thu, 10 January 2008

EBRD annual shareholders' meeting in Kyiv on 18-19 May 2008.
By Jonathan Holmberg, Kyiv Post Staff Writer
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Jan 09 2008

"Ukraine - Macroeconomic Situation - November 2007"
Monthly Analytical Report: By Olga Pogarska, Edilberto L. Segura
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group,
The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, January 11, 2008
[Report is found below and in the Attachment]


[1] The Ukrainian economy grew by a solid 7.3% year-over-year (yoy)
over the first ten months of the year as the shortfall in agriculture was
compensated for by strong performance in domestic trade, manufacturing
and transport.

[2] The strong resilience to energy price shocks demonstrated by the
Ukrainian economy in 2006 and 2007 supports a positive outlook for real
GDP growth in 2008 despite another increase in the price for imported gas.

[3] Over January-October, thanks to robust economic activity and cautious
execution of expenditures, the consolidated budget reported a 0.75% of
period GDP surplus. At the same time, the fiscal outlook for 2008 remains
very uncertain.

[4] Consumer inflation surged to 14.8% yoy in October. The price increase
on imported energy resources makes containment of inflation a rather
challenging task for Ukraine in 2008.

[5] Ukraine continued to demonstrate strong export performance; however,
faster growth of imports resulted in further widening of Ukraine's foreign
trade deficit in January-September. On a positive note, the current account
balance slightly improved given increased foreign trade service and net
transfer surpluses.

[6] Despite political instability, net FDI inflows were at a record high
$7.1 billion over the first nine months of the year.

[7] As of mid-December, Ukraine had signed all bilateral protocols.
However, despite expectations, it is likely to join the WTO in the first
half of 2008.


Over the first ten months of the year, the Ukrainian economy demonstrated
robust economic growth. Despite a continuing decline in agriculture, strong
performance in domestic trade, manufacturing and transport supported real
GDP growth of 7.3% yoy in January-October.

Indeed, real GDP growth accelerated to 7% yoy in October, up from 6.2% yoy
in the previous month. The good crop of maize and fruits (up by 37.5% yoy
and about 25% yoy respectively) could not compensate for poor harvests of
other cereals, sugar beets, sunflower seeds and vegetables.

As noted in the previous reports, thinner harvests this year were the result
of this summer's drought, which caused a substantial decline in crop yields.
As a result, agriculture reported a 5.3% decrease in value added over

The ongoing consumption boom, fuelled by a 12.1% yoy real increase in
household disposable income over the first ten months of the year and high
credit growth, favored the service sector and domestically-oriented

In particular, value added growth in wholesale and retail trade accelerated
to 17.2% yoy over January-October. Value added growth in the transport
sector sped up to 7% yoy over the period, up from 6.7% yoy in the first
nine months of the year.

Strong demand for transport services was secured by growing individuals'
income, solid growth of industrial output, intensifying
both domestic and foreign trade activity.

Closely linked to agricultural performance, the food processing industry
reported a deceleration in output growth to 12.1% yoy (down from 13.3%
yoy over January-September). Stabilization of steel prices on global and
domestic markets [1] and a high statistical base effect were the main
reasons of an output growth slowdown in metallurgy to 9.9% yoy in

Increasing freight and input costs (particularly on iron ore and coke [2])
on the back of relatively stable world steel prices are likely to translate
into further deceleration in Ukraine's metallurgy through the end of the

On the upside, as we predicted in the previous report, rising chemical
prices (particularly on fertilizers) contributed to increased output growth
in the heavily export-oriented chemical industry. Over January-October,
production of chemicals expanded by 5.2% yoy, up from 4.3% yoy in the
first nine months.

Benefiting from strong investment demand in Ukraine's main trading partner
countries (particularly Russia) and robust domestic demand, production in
the machine-building industry grew by an impressive 27.4% yoy over the

Given robust economic growth in the first ten months of the year, the
government revised upwards its real GDP forecast for the 2007 to 7% yoy,
up from the previous 6.5% yoy.

The strong resilience despite energy price shocks demonstrated by the
Ukrainian economy in 2006 and 2007 supports a positive outlook for the
Ukrainian economy in 2008 despite another increase in the price
for imported gas.

According to the new agreement between Ukraine and Russia (which is not
finalized yet), Ukraine will be paying a 37.1% higher price for imported gas
from the beginning of 2008- $179.5 per 1,000 m3. At the same time, the new
gas price will still be considerably lower than the average natural gas
price paid by European countries (by about 40-45%).

Contrary to expectations, the Ukrainian economy demonstrated strong economic
performance in 2006-2007 despite an almost twofold increase in the imported
gas price.

This was achieved thanks to a benign external environment (high world prices
on steel and chemical products, robust growth in the trading partner
countries), buoyant consumption supported by loose income policy and a
continuing credit boom, and a pass-through of rising energy prices to
producers and consumers.

The latter, as well as expectations that natural gas prices will continue to
further rise to average European levels, stimulated more efficient use of
energy resources and investments in energy saving technologies.

Though raising energy efficiency is undoubtedly a medium-to-long-term
process, active investment spending may help to sustain economic growth
in the short term. This calls for facilitation of structural reforms and
development of a comprehensive policy aimed at creating a favorable
business environment in Ukraine.

In sum, a 37.1% hike in imported natural gas prices in 2008 will represent a
serious challenge to the highly energy intensive and energy inefficient
Ukrainian economy.

However, we believe that the benign external environment (world steel prices
are expected to stabilize or moderately decline but remain high, chemical
prices are forecasted to continue rising though at a slower pace), strong
consumption and investment activity, and the expected speed up in structural
reforms will help to absorb the shock. As a result, the economy is
forecasted to produce about 6% yoy real growth in 2008.


The robust economic growth encouraged good fiscal performance during
January-October. Over the period, revenues to the general fund of the state
budget were 2% above target. Total revenues to the consolidated budget grew
by 27.5% in nominal terms to UAH 170.2  billion ($33.7 billion) as of the
end of October.

The biggest contributors to total revenue growth were personal income tax
(up by 51% yoy in nominal terms) and non-tax revenues (up by about 27%
yoy). Buoyant economic activity was reflected in growing profitability of
Ukrainian enterprises.

According to the State Statistics Committee, reported profits before
taxation were 70% higher in January-October than in the respective period
last year. This allowed fiscal authorities to collect 32.3% yoy higher
corporate income tax proceeds.

Fast growth of imports contributed to a 37.3% yoy nominal increase in
receipts from customs duties. At the same time, collections from value
added taxes could have been better. Given double-digit real growth rates in
industry, domestic and external trade, VAT proceeds grew by a relatively
modest 2.8% yoy in real terms (CPI deflated).

Such a modest increase in VAT receipts may be explained by the
recommencement of some tax privileges at the end of 2006, including
several free economic zones, and weakening fiscal discipline related to
the prolonged period of political instability in the country.

At the same time, the expenditure side of the budget has been executed
rather cautiously. Though the general fund of the state budget was executed
in line with the planned amount in October (100.2% of the target),
cumulatively expenditures were under-fulfilled by 5.1%.

As budget expenditures grew at a slower pace than revenues (by 25.3%
yoy over January-October to UAH 165.4 billion or $32.8 billion), the
consolidated budget posted a surplus of 0.75% of period GDP.

Considering that the privatization program will not be fully realized (as of
the end of October, the State Property Fund allocated just UAH 2 billion to
the state coffers, which represents less than 20% of the full-year target),
consolidated budget expenditures are likely to remain under-executed this

This, as well as faster than expected nominal GDP growth, may result in a
much lower consolidated budget deficit in terms of GDP than was previously

Along with control over expenditures, the government has been actively
seeking resources to finance the expected fiscal deficit. In October,
however, the government managed to attract just UAH 150 million ($30
million) to the state budget from issuing domestic securities.

The weak demand for domestic bonds is explained by unattractive yields
proposed by the government given recent acceleration of inflation and
liquidity tightening on international financial markets.

At the same time, despite the not very favorable conditions for external
borrowings, on the last day of October the government issued a decree
envisaging placement of a $700 million Eurobonds with 10 year maturity
and 6.75% yield to be paid biannually.

So far during January-October the government has received UAH 5.8 billion
($1.16 billion) from new domestic and external borrowing. However, this
amount was marginally higher than debt repayment due over the period.

A 0.5% month-over-month (mom) increase in the stock of public and publicly
guaranteed debt occurred on account of domestic guaranteed debt. The
increase is attributed to providing a government guarantee to debt
securities issued by the State Mortgage Institution.

Fiscal performance has remained favorable so far. At the same time, the
fiscal outlook for 2008 is very uncertain. First, due to the early
parliamentary elections and lingering process of formation of the new
government, Ukraine may fail to adopt the Budget Law for 2008 by the end
of the year. Second, mounting inflationary pressures and a widening current
account balance call for the tightening of fiscal policy next year.

This may turn contradictory with the need to accomplish plentiful social
expenditure promises made during the early elections this year. We believe
that the fiscal policy of the new government will be stability oriented,
while acceleration of reforms will allow for reducing inflation to low
single-digits and achieving higher living standards in the medium term.


In October, a 4% mom surge in food prices and a 1.5% mom increase in
non-food prices led to an almost 3% mom growth in the consumer price

This pushed annual inflation up to 14.8%- the highest rate in eight years.
Ukraine is not alone in facing food price inflation. Similar developments
can be observed worldwide.

As in the other countries, besides the poorer grain harvest this year, food
prices in Ukraine are affected by higher freight costs and growing demand
for food. The latter is attributed to double-digit growth in real household
disposable income over the last four

In addition, Ukraine suffers from highly inefficient state interventions on
the food market. Acceleration of non-food inflation in October occurred on
account of soaring fuel prices (up by 3% mom) and an increase in the cost
of hot water and heating (by 8.1% yoy) related to the start of the heating
season. [3]

A surge in consumer inflation should also be attributed to rapid expansion
of monetary aggregates. Due to robust foreign capital inflow (mainly in the
form of FDI, private sector borrowings from abroad and export proceeds),
the National Bank of Ukraine injected billions of hryvnia into the Ukrainian
economy to maintain the de-facto peg of the hryvnia to the US dollar.

In October, the monetary base grew by an impressive 48.5% yoy. At the
same time, the pace of growth of the monetary base slightly decelerated in
October compared to the 50.6% yoy rate of increase in the previous month.
The slowdown is mainly explained by sizable sterilization operations
performed by the NBU in October.

That month, the NBU extracted UAH 9.7 billion ($1.9 billion) of excess
liquidity by issuing deposit certificates. Monetary aggregates growth was
also supported by robust expansion of credit.

Following slight deceleration in September, the growth of commercial bank
credit rebounded to 75.6% yoy. The fairly stable hryvnia exchange rate with
respect to the US dollar, improved commercial banks' access to cheap
financial resources and relatively high domestic inflation resulted in a
growing currency structure mismatch between the asset and liability side of
commercial banks balances.

In fact, the share of foreign currency denominated loans grew from about 42%
in October 2005 to 51.5% in October 2007. At the same time, about 2/3 of all
deposits are preferred to be hold in the national currency.

In addition to the growing banking sector vulnerability to various risks
(including foreign exchange risks), very high credit growth contributes to
growing external and domestic imbalances of the country (through worsening
of current account balance and surging inflation respectively).

To address these issues, the NBU decided to introduce reserve requirements
on funds attracted by commercial banks from abroad. Starting November 20th,
commercial banks will be obliged to keep 4% of the attracted external funds
in reserves. According to rough estimates, this measure will allow for about
UAH 1.5 billion to be sterilized.

However, as impact of monetary aggregates developments on inflation still
remains rather limited, this measure is unlikely to contain runaway
inflation, which is likely to reach about 16% yoy at the end of the year.

Given a 37.1% rise in imported gas prices since the beginning of 2008 and
thus continuing deterioration of foreign trade balance, containing inflation
will be among the most challenging tasks for Ukrainian authorities in the


Over the first nine months of 2007, Ukraine's merchandise  exports grew by
27.6% yoy to $35.7 billion. Some deceleration from 30% yoy growth in
January-August may be attributed to slower export of agricultural,
metallurgical, chemical and machinery products. Export of agricultural
products continued to loose speed on the back of 33.2% yoy decline in grain

Stabilization of world steel prices and increasing statistical base were
among the main reasons of slowing growth rates of metal exports (28.8% yoy
in January-September vs. almost 32% yoy in the first eight months of the
year). Increased statistical base may also explain slower export growth of
chemicals, machines and transport equipment.

At the same time, import growth was also on a decline, primarily reflecting
lower imports of energy resources, which account for 1/3 of total imports.
In particular, imports of natural gas have been declining in annual terms
since July, which may be attributed to faster fill-up of Ukrainian gas
storage in 1H 2007.

As a result, cumulative growth of gas imports decelerated to 11.9% over
January-September. Climbing international crude oil prices and a rise of
export duties on Russia's crude oil to record levels depressed domestic
oil-processing. As a result, demand on imported crude oil declined, causing
the cumulative value of crude oil imports to decrease by 0.4% yoy in

At the same time, import of gasoline has also decelerated to 30.6% yoy in
January-September from about 61.5% yoy in the first nine months of the year.
The slowdown may be attributed to the end of the harvesting campaign.

At the same time, despite deceleration to 31.5% yoy in January-September
(down from 33.8% yoy in the first eight months of the year), merchandise
imports kept growing at higher rates than exports, stimulated by strong
domestic demand. As a result, the FOB/CIF merchandise trade deficit widened
to $6.7 billion.

According to the balance of payments (BoP) methodology, the merchandise
foreign trade deficit widened almost 70% yoy and amounted to $5.4 billion
for the nine months of the year.

Thanks to a 12.5% yoy increase in service trade surplus and a 22.2% yoy
higher surplus in transfers account, the current account deficit narrowed to
2.2% of period GDP in January-September, down from 3.4% of GDP in 1H

The strong macroeconomic performance demonstrated during 2004-2007
(even more impressive taking into account political instability and energy
price shocks), the large domestic market with growing purchasing power of
the population, the educated and relatively cheap labor force, rich natural
resources, increasing trade potential (the coming WTO accession and good
prospects of signing a free trade agreement with the EU) attracted foreign
investors to Ukraine.

According to NBU data, net FDI inflows made up a record high $7.1 billion
over the first nine months of the year. Together with active private sector
external borrowings, they formed an impressive $10.7 billion financial
account surplus (analytical presentation of the BoP).

The high financial account surplus allowed for covering current the account
deficit and augmenting NBU gross international reserves to $30.6 billion at
the end of September 2007. The level of reserves was equivalent to 5.2
months of future import of goods and services.


In mid-November, Ukraine has agreed and signed a bilateral agreement on
mutual access to the markets of goods and services of Kyrgyzstan. Similar
protocols were later signed with Vietnam and Guatemala, which just recently
joined the Working Group on Ukraine's WTO accession.

It was expected that during the meeting scheduled for the end of November,
the Working Group would approve a report on Ukraine's progress towards
joining the WTO and recommend the General Council to formally invite the
country to the Organization.

However, the meeting of the Working Group was postponed as on the eve
of the meeting the European Union required the country to settle the
export duties issue (in particular, export duties on scrap metal). Despite
the diplomats' efforts, the issue is unlikely to be resolved by the end of
the year. Accession to the WTO is postponed until the first half of 2008.
[1] According to MEPS, the EU composite steel price index remained virtually
unchanged in October compared to the previous month, while steel prices on
the Asian markets reported moderate increase. The latter is explained by
China's growing demand for metallurgical products inside the country. At the
same time, due to intensified competition and rising freight, Ukraine's
export of metallurgical products to Asian markets has been loosing speed.

[2] Due to a number of accidents in Zasiadko mine, which supplied about 1/3
of coke to the domestic market, Ukraine may experience a coke deficit in the
coming months. As coke is used as a fuel and an important component in the
production of pig iron, the latter is likely to decline, putting downward
pressure on further growth of metallurgical output.

[3] Due to the change in methodology effective since the beginning of 2007,
the costs of utilities are classified as non-foods. Before, they were
counted as services. As non-food and service price indices for previous
periods were not revised, the growth rates of both indices are somewhat
misleading due to the presence of base effects.
NOTE: To read the entire SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer Foundation
Ukraine Macroeconomic Situation Report for November 2007 in a
PDF format, including color charts and graphics click on the attachment
to this e-mail or on the following link and click on Ukraine November 2007.
NOTE: SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer Foundation also publishes monthly
Macroeconomic Situation Reports for Bulgaria, Romania and
Kazakhstan. The present and past reports, including those for Ukraine
can be found at http://www.sigmableyzer.com/en/page/532.
For further information contact: Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director,
Government Affairs, Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer, Emerging Markets
Private Equity Investment Group; Telephone: 202 437 4707
E-mail: mwilliams@SigmaBleyzer.com; Web: www.SigmaBleyzer.com
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service]

INTERVIEW: With Pavlo Prokopovych, Ph.D.,
Kyiv Economics Institute and the Kyiv School of Economics.
The Ukrainian Observer, The Willard Group,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 1, 2008

KYIV - With political instability still very much a part of the Ukrainian
economic equation, we put a number of questions to Pavlo Prokopovych,
a respected economist, about his evaluation of 2007 and expectations for

UO: As we enter 2008, what do you think in general about the economy's
performance in 2007?

Prokopovych: First, let us look at the positive indicators of Ukraine's
economic performance. Ukraine's GDP has been growing strongly at 7 percent.
The exchange rate against the US dollar has remained unchanged. The average
nominal wage has grown by more than 30 percent since October 2006. It grew
by 5.2 percent only in one month, last September.

There are two possible explanations to this increase: either the labor
productivity in Ukraine usually jumps up in a big way just before a
parliamentary election, or the government printed money to get extra votes.

To decide which explanation is correct, one needs to look at the dynamics
of the inflation rate in the recent months.

After August's 0.6 percent, the rate of inflation has never been lower than
2 percent. The situation is worse in Kyiv, where the rate of inflation
surged to 18.7 percent for the first eleven months of 2007. Therefore, one
may conclude the government has abused the printing press to finance social

At the same time, to stay unbiased I would like to mention that the
president has also put forward a number of social initiatives with no regard
to inflation. Therefore, there is more than one explanation for the current
high rate of inflation.

The growing world prices for metal and chemical products have contributed to
Ukraine's economic growth. The favorable external environment could have
been used by those in power for pushing for a number of urgent structural
reforms. Unfortunately, the time was wasted on political bickering and
populist appeasement of voters.

Huge capital inflows from abroad have been another pillar of the economy
of late. Therefore, since the beginning of 2007 Ukraine's foreign debt has
risen by more than one third to more than $74 billion, which is in itself an
ominous sign.

Another closely related problem is Ukraine's quickly growing current account
deficit. In my view, Ukraine's macroeconomic stability has worsened
significantly for the last year.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that the economic growth is attributable to a
successful program of structural reforms undertaken by the government. The
government has mainly relied on monetary tools to achieve the economic

For example, the M1 money supply, which consists of physical currency,
banks' accounts in the central bank, vault cash, and demand accounts,
increased by 40.3 percent for the first eleven months of 2007, thereby
exceeding the target band for M1 money supply of 28-33 percent for the
whole year of 2007 by much.

Therefore, the government has been abusing the easy availability of
seignorage to finance current expenditures, thereby putting Ukraine's
economy at a significant risk. Its proclaimed intention to fight growing
inflation in 2008 will be hard to realize because of the anticipated
increase of 30-35 percent in M1 money supply.

UO: What do you think about a possible strengthening of the hryvnia by
the National Bank of Ukraine?

Prokopovych: The NBU has been putting almost all the blame for the recent
inflation explosion on growing world food prices and the fixed exchange rate
against the dollar. Without a doubt, of late each cut of the U.S. federal
funds rate has been accompanied by a tidal wave of dollars coming to

Then the NBU bought the dollars with freshly printed hryvnias, which has
certainly led to higher inflation, soaring real estate prices and stock
market indices.

However, there was a positive side to this kind of monetary policy. The
money injections led to higher economic growth and bigger foreign reserves
in the NBU's coffers. Therefore, until very recently the NBU did not show
much concern about the incoming dollars and did not take any action to
sterilize them.

Yanukovych's government did not need even to think about any structural
reforms since the economy was ballooning on its own. Not surprisingly, the
2007 officially measured rate of inflation will be higher than 15 percent.

The first reaction to such a piece of bad news would be to unfix the hryvnia
from the dollar. It is reasonable if firstly the NBU correctly expects the
dollar to keep on falling against the other major currencies in 2008, and
secondly the world prices of Ukrainian exports will also go up and up, which
is supported by many experts' 2008 predictions.

Let us think for a moment about the consequences of a stronger hryvnia.
Its strengthening would make the current account deficit even worse.

In October 2007 alone, Ukraine's trade deficit totaled $1.5288 billion. On
the other hand, under the quickly worsening conditions on the major
financial markets, a stronger hryvnia would allow foreign investors to move
their funds out of Ukraine with hefty profits, which would cause an
immediate economic crisis in Ukraine. In my view, the NBU's promise to
revalue the hryvnia is not credible.

UO: The booms in real estate and building construction have been major
engines of economic growth in recent years. What are your expectations in
this sector for the coming year?

Prokopovych: In Kyiv, both the construction and real estate industries have
been stagnating for the whole year of 2007. According to a number of
reports, we will observe a 10 percent decline in the amount of new
construction put in operation in Kyiv this year.

With investors switching in droves to the stock market after the residential
real estate prices reached its present highs, many construction companies
have become cash-strapped in the blink of an eye. That is why higher
residential real estate prices in Kyiv have led to a lower supply of new

Unfortunately, the government has not tried to remove the major causes of
this dismal functioning of the market, such as corruption. Because many
foreign investors have begun to "vote with their feet" and the world
financial markets have been going through a major correction, it is rational
to expect that current residential real estate prices will fall considerably
in 2008.

UO: Will the current turmoil in the world financial markets affect Ukraine's

Prokopovych: It has been affecting us. The abundant supply of cheap foreign
funds has abruptly begun to wither in the second half of this year, which
has forced a number of banks to raise deposit rates. In general, the foreign
debt of Ukrainian banks amounts to about 40 percent of client deposits.

The growth rate of foreign indebtedness of Ukraine's banking system is one
of the highest (if not the highest!) in the world.

Therefore, it is only a matter of time before the credit crisis that has
been unfolding in the major financial markets will arrive on our shores. On
the other hand, many loans extended by Ukrainian banks are subprime
according to any standards. We can only guess how many of them will go
bad next year.

I would like to wish happy holidays to all Ukrainian Observer's readers.
Pavlo Prokopovych, Ph.D., Kyiv Economics Institute and the Kyiv School
of Economics. The views expressed are exclusively those of the author.
LINK: http://ukraine-observer.com/index.php?c=821
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Website: www.usubc.org]

By Quentin Peel, International Affairs Editor
Financial Times, London, UK, December 24 2007

For two decades the people of Russia have been riding a revolutionary
roller-coaster. The ride has been uncomfortable, veering from hope to dismay
and back again, but it has spanned the end of communism and the rise of a
crude form of capitalism.

The journey is not over yet, even if Vladimir Putin, the former spy and
archbureaucrat, seems temporarily to have reimposed order from the Kremlin.

After the chaos of the rule of Mikhail Gorbachev, who made the collapse of
the Soviet Union inevitable by trying to reform it, and of Boris Yeltsin,
who wielded the executioner's axe without calculating the consequences,
President Putin's regime has come as a relief to many Russians.

To the outside world he represents a dangerous mixture of autocracy and
nationalism. Thanks to the good fortune of a soaring oil price and the sense
to keep a tight grip on spending, he has stabilised the economy.

He has reimposed central control, revived state ownership of oil and gas and
put dozens of his comrades from the former KGB and the FSB, its successor
as the agency of state security, into lucrative business positions.

Yet Anders Aslund, the Swedish economist and author who has been intimately
involved in Russia's transformation since the early 1980s, sees a tension at
the heart of the Putin system: Russia has become a market economy but not a

In some ways Aslund is an incorrigible optimist. He must be to have stayed
engaged for so long. He was a diplomat in Moscow in the mid-1980s when
Gorbachev came to power.

He went back at the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as an economic
adviser to Yeltsin's government of young reformers. Latterly he has advised
the governments of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan on thetransition from communism to

From December 1991, he worked in the old Communist party headquarters with
Jeffrey Sachs, the Harvard economist, on radical economic reform. It was the
pivotal moment in what he describes as Russia's capitalist revolution - when
Gorbachev resigned, the USSR fell apart and the institutional structure of
the communist system collapsed.

"Gorbachev was the liberal reformer who inadvertently unleashed the
revolution," he says. "Yeltsin was the revolutionary hero who did not quite
know what to do after the revolution, and Putin became the
post-revolutionary dictator, a Napoleon or Stalin, who consolidated power in
authoritarian rule when people had grown tired of politics."

By analysing the 22 years from Gorbachev's accession as Communist party
leader to Putin's reimposition of central power, Aslund seeks to explain why
economic reform succeeded and democracy failed.

He shows how Gorbachev's perestroika , his failed attempt at gradual
economic reform, drove him to conclude that only political change would save
the Soviet Union. "Gorbachev was a nice man who wanted to do good," he says,
"but his ideas were quite vague."

Unlike Gorbachev, Yeltsin was "prepared to think and do the unthinkable". He
won democratic legitimacy by getting himself elected. Yet when he gained
power, he postponed political reform in favour of economic revolution. It
was a fatal hesitation.

Economic shock therapy - price liberalisation, draconian cuts in arms
spending and then mass privatisation - laid the foundation of today's market
economy. Democracy never recovered.

Like Gorbachev, Yeltsin did not know what he was doing, says Aslund. He was
torn between young reformers - Yegor Gaidar and Anatoly Chubais, the
architect of privatisation - and his more conservative drinking partners
such as Aleksandr Korzhakov, his bodyguard, and Mikhail Barsukov, his FSB

Aslund says democracy failed because "no clear idea was presented on how to
build" it. Russians were suspicious of ideology and political parties after
70 years of communism. The outside world had no model to offer on how to
make the transition.

He blames the west for not helping Russia in 1992 when the economy collapsed
but fails to stress a critical mistake of Yeltsin's - missing the chance to
abolish the KGB after the abortive coup against Gorbachev in August 1991.
Putin is a creature of the KGB in his language, thinking and methods.

As long as it exists - as today's FSB - democracy will be a sham. But robber
capitalism is entirely acceptable to the siloviki , Mr Putin's old KGB
comrades, who have elbowed out the oligarchs of Yeltsin's era to enrich

Aslund is pessimistic about the Putin regime but more positive about the
economy, provided the Kremlin does not destroy the wealth-creating private
sector. He believes that "Russia in due time will throw off its
authoritarian yoke and mature as a democracy". He really is an optimist at
NOTE:  Anders Aslund is a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for
International Economics, Washington. He also serves as a Senior Advisor
to the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC). Aslund's new book is
entitled: "How Capitalism Was Built: The Transformation of Central &
Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia." 
LINK: www.cambridge.org/us/9780521683821
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service]========================================

James Hydzik, Business Ukraine magazine
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 7, 2008

Ukraine's banking sector has had another banner year in 2007 with record
numbers of foreign acquisitions and a booming domestic consumer market.
Will this trend continue on into the coming twelve months?

Ukraine's modern banking industry was thrust into the spotlight in 2005 with
the USD 1.028 billion purchase of Bank Aval by Raiffeisen Bank. It has not
stepped out of the limelight since. 2007 is no exception, and as far as
industry analysts and operators can determine, 2008 should be more of the

Acquisitions by foreign banks, continued improvements to corporate
governance and expanding product ranges to an increasingly sophisticated
clientele are to be expected.

International acquisitions

Foreign companies are purchasing two particular types of Ukrainian banks.
The first is the stuff of headline news, and the acquisition of a major bank
occurs with regularity here. There are still banks to be bought, notes
Valentin Zelenyuk, Chief Strategist and Banking Analyst at Kyiv's Millennium
Capital. "The largest of them all, PrivatBank, is still in Ukrainian hands,"
he points out. "Also, the government-owned Oshchadbank and UkrEximBank
could also be privatised."

Though the previous government had publicly raised questions over the influx
of foreign capital into the domestic banking sector, the incoming Cabinet
might take a different view. "A transparent privatisation of Oshchadbank,
with its extensive network, could be worth a couple of billion dollars,"
Zelenyuk points out.

At the other end of the scale, more and more small banks are finding foreign
partners and owners. Incoming banks find it more convenient to purchase a
clean and practically empty bank than to work through the red tape of
getting a new license. The tendency by small Ukrainian banks, though, has
been to build branches in order to set themselves apart from the pack.

"Quickly building a branch network may be unprofitable in the short term,
but it does help attract buyers who want more than a license, so we're
seeing this happen quite often. Fleshing out ATM networks also helps, and
that's a noticeable trend as well," Zelenyuk remarks. With lending rates
that are often far beyond what is imaginable at home, there is still no
shortage of potential buyers for the Ukrainian banker who puts in the effort
to build up an organisation.

Bank branding

Though the wave of acquisitions will continue unabated through 2008, the
problem for both foreign buyers and the Ukrainian bankers who are building
their institutions is largely the same once it comes time to actually
creating a profitable company. Despite the unsaturated market, how does a
bank set itself apart, especially when some of Europe's major competitors
can be found down the street?

Russia's Standard Bank has provided a general guide for the many banks in
Ukraine that see consumer lending as a key to success. However, while
Standard Bank has received a license in Ukraine, local startups have stolen
a march on it and have already rolled out similar products.

One reason for the delay is that despite the close geographic proximity, a
cookie-cutter approach to banking will not work within the region. Ukraine's
market responds best to a mixture of Russian and Central European campaigns,
and local knowledge is a help as well.

"While our basic approach is that of Standard Bank, we've taken some pages
from Central Europe's markets, especially from Hungary and the Czech
Republic," notes Vitaliy Masyura, Head of the Treasury of Delta Bank, which
focuses solely on consumer lending. Rodovid Bank made a name for itself,
among other ways, by co-branding plastic cards with mobile telephone
operator UMC, now MTS.

Catering for consumers

Lou Naumovski, Senior Vice-President and General Manager of VISA
International's CEMEA Region, says that new possibilities for plastic card
use are often picked up very quickly by banks trying to catch consumer
attention. "Plastic cards first appeared here in 1988 and after independence
the first financial institutions we saw in the region had great innovators,
but poor bankers.

Since then things have evolved. In August 2000, there were 2.5 million cards
in the FSU, with 1 million in the Russian Federation itself, and in 2002 the
first revolving credit cards hit the market. Nowadays, there are 66 million
VISA cards alone in the FSU. It's a differentiator, and I'd say that this
has been an instrument for moving banks in the region away from acting like
corporate treasuries."

Valentin Zelenyuk sees the expansion of services beyond lending to be a key
starting point in 2008 as well. "The savings potential in Ukraine hasn't
been exploited fully," he says, "and though savings accounts have high
interest rates, it isn't quite enough. Alternatives such as mutual funds and
private pension finds are now being rolled out.

Ukraine's banking clients have gotten over their distrust of banks and once
they put behind them the memory of the 1990s collapses of what were termed
mutual funds, the instruments should take off." This is expected to be a
feature of the industry in 2008, as Ukraine's banking clients are becoming
increasingly sophisticated.

Leading the transparency charge

Overall, banks have led Ukraine's business community in terms of corporate
governance. Because they were among the first companies to tap into the
global finance markets as well as look for foreign buyers, outward-looking
banks have been accustomed to dealing with the tasks that companies in many
other industries are only now coming to terms with.

"If you want a good example," says Valentin Zelenyuk, "banking is the only
sector where you can get financial statements on a monthly basis, not to
mention detailed quarterly reports. Overall, and now in particular, banking
is way ahead of other industries in this regard."

Corporate governance as well as the capability of the staff will continue to
rise through 2008. The expansion of consumer lending in particular has given
rise to the importance of risk management - a term completely unheard of in
the industry even a few years ago. Competition for well-educated employees
will only strengthen.

A stint abroad has always been helpful in landing a good job in the
industry, but local education is on the rise. "When I lectured in Moscow in
1996," says Shyam Mehta, a London-based banker now in Ukraine.

"There was almost no knowledge of Western finance, but nowadays many
students study for exams such as the US-based CFA." A locally-educated
young professional with foreign experience in risk management should have
no problem in finding a job in Ukraine in 2008.

The sub-prime mortgage problem in the United States and the general
world-wide credit crunch has had little direct effect on Ukraine's banks.
Nor should some of the factors that led to the collapse become issues here
for a long time, despite a risk management culture that is only now
beginning to mature.

"Ukraine hasn't had a mortgage industry long enough to warrant prime and
sub-prime lending as the US had," Valentin Zelenyuk says, "so there's little
to collapse. Also, unlike Kazakhstan, the banks here didn't engage in
international borrowing to a great extent, so the tightening of credit hasn't
affected them.

What we have seen is that foreign banks that were thinking of coming into
Ukraine might have had their own issues to take care of, and others have
taken a 'wait-and-see' attitude regarding expansion." Once these are taken
care of, Ukraine could well be in for another wave of acquisitions.
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service]=========================================
U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Website: http://www.usubc.org

Ken Bossong, Ukrainian-American Environmental Association
Washington, D.C., Thursday, January 10, 2008


International Conference & Exhibition: April 1-4, 2008

RUS Hotel, 4 Hospitalna St.
Kyiv 01601 Ukraine


Ukraine has a great potential for development of alternative and renewable
energy sources that will allow for strengthening the environment and
energy security, providing the agricultural and transport sectors of the
Ukrainian economy with biofuels of its own production and consequently
reducing the national dependency on oil imports. European Union supports
the ambitious expansion of biofuel production for internal consumption and
export. The agricultural product processing growth rate in the EU exceeds
the cultivation land growth rate thus creating additional favorable
conditions for Ukraine for dynamic development of the biofuel industry.

International Industrial Conference "Biofuels. Ukraine-2008" officially
supported by the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine will provide a
platform for discussion of perspectives for biofuel industry development
not only in Ukraine but in the region in general. Representatives of the
Ukrainian Government, the European Commission, international financial
institutions, agricultural producers from Ukraine and CIS, suppliers of
modern technologies, manufacturers of modern equipment, investment and
financial institutions, Ukrainian and foreign leading experts will
participate in the Conference.

Open discussion will address all hot issues related to the quality and
availability of feedstock, development of the national standard system,
legal framework and financial aspects, investment opportunities that will
facilitate strengthening the dialogue between state authorities and
businesses as well as enhancing business contacts and cooperation among
Ukrainian biofuel manufacturers and agricultural enterprises, and their
foreign partners and potential investors.

In the frameworks of the conference the Exhibition will be held to promote
cutting edge technologies, modern equipment and innovative solutions.

The Investment Round Table will present growing investment and business
opportunities in biofuel sector of Ukraine to the international financial
institutions, business circles and private investors.

The comprehensive Workshops for beginners will be offered by sections
"Bioethanol" and "Biodiesel" to those willing to launch new biofuel

The event will provide participants with unrivalled business and
networking opportunities.

Please visit the Conference website for more information at

April 2-3, 2008; Kharkiv, Ukraine

Dear colleagues,

The conference organizers are pleased to invite you to the 5th
International Conference "Cooperation for Waste Issues" that will be
held on April 2 - 3, 2008 in Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Primary topics
* Legal and regulatory framework of waste management
* Sanitary, environmental, institutional and economic aspects of waste
* Waste management technologies, equipment and services
* Landfill construction and operation
* Radioactive and toxic waste treatment
* Wastewater treatment. Sludge management. Sludge fields
* Air emissions. Gaseous emission treatment. Dust and slag management
* Waste to energy
* Informational, programming and metrological support
* Environmental insurance systems, certification, standardization, audit,
due diligence review
* Public participation in waste management.

Organized by: EcoInform NGO
National Technical University "Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute"
Ecological Alliance, Ltd.

LEGAL SUPPORT: Arzinger & Partners Law Firm

Please for more details see:  http://www.waste.com.ua/cooperation.

For a printable version of the First announcement and Call for Papers
 Click:  http://www.waste.com.ua/cooperation/einfo.rtf
To learn about the Conference topics more, you may wish to view the
Contents of the previous Conference Proceedings:


Yours sincerely,

Ms Iryna Popova, Director
P.O.B. 81, Kharkiv, 61052, Ukraine
Tel/fax  +38 (057) 712-11-05, 759-19-90
E-mail: world_of_waste@mail.ru, ecoinvest@vl.kharkov.ua

April 3-5, 2008
Expocenter of Ukraine
Glushkova Ave., 1, Kyiv, Ukraine


Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,        
National complex "Expocenter of Ukraine" and Holding "ETI" are pleased to
invite Ukrainian and foreign companies and organizations to participate in
the International Forum "Ecological Technologies and Innovations". This
Forum is the Ukrainian premier environmental technology trade show and
conferences dedicated solely to the latest technologies, solutions,
systems, equipment and services in all fields of environment management
and technology comprising water treatment, waste management, air pollution
control, clean energy, soil management and services integrated under one
We want to stimulate further knowledge development in the ecological
sector and to promote dialogue with our development partners on important
environment sector issues in our work. We are pleased that government
colleagues involved in the ecology, water and waste sectors have joined
The mission of this environmental Forum is to bring together all of the
very best work that has been done in the field of waste maintenance,
safety and management and to bridge the gap between theory and practice.

For further information, see:


November 4-6, 2008
International Exhibition Centre
15, Brovarsky Ave.
Kyiv, Ukraine 

Organizers of the exhibition:
The Ministry of Fuel and Energy of Ukraine

The main subjects of the exhibition:
Energy providing and transformation
- seismic and geo - researches for basis and energy extraction
- alternative energy sources
- energy transformation
- industry structures (projecting of sun and wind energy, isotope
separation and enrichment, production on liquid and solid fuel, energy of
biological active masses etc)

Production, transmission and energy distribution
- electricity production
- electrical engineering components and modular devices, auxiliary
- controlling and measuring equipment and control apparatus
- regenerative and recuperative systems of heat reconstruction
- energy transmission and distribution systems
- processing and using repeated resources
- nonconventional and amended power sources
- electric energy utilization

Technics, devices and equipment of energy industry
- production of electrical machines, electric motors
- production of electrical equipment, apparatus
- cable and insulating industries
- electric-bulb industry
- accumulator and elemental industries
- production of electric welding equipment
- production of control devices and regulating of technological processes
- production of electrical-type instruments
- automation of administrative process and production control of energy
sources using
- electronics and communication facilities as auxiliary directions

Energy supply effectiveness
- power supply
- increasing of using effectiveness of energy supply
- technical reequipment of electric-power industry
- energy supply effectiveness in municipal economy
- heat-and-power engineering and supplying of cities, engineering
- energy-saving technologies in house-building
- newest technologies, experience and problems, innovation projects

Project manager: Tatyana Shakchnik - olga@acco.kiev.ua
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service]

Journal Staff and Wire Reports, Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island, Tuesday, December 4, 2007

PROVIDENCE - Providence-based Providence Equity Partners is making the
largest Western private investment in Ukraine, demonstrating the interest of
Western investors in Eastern European companies.

Providence Equity, the firm run by Brown University graduate Jonathan M.
Nelson, is putting more than $200 million into Volia Cable, the leading
Ukrainian cable TV and Internet access provider. Volia is controlled by UGF
III, a SigmaBleyzer-managed private equity fund. The transaction is expected
to close this month.

"This is our seventh significant investment in this sector in Europe and our
second in Eastern Europe, which is experiencing increasing demand for
sophisticated television and broadband services," said Nelson, chief
executive officer, in a statement.

John Hahn, a managing director of Providence Equity and head of the firm's
office in Europe, said, "We have extensive holdings in cable businesses
across Western Europe and are excited about the opportunity to marry that
expertise with the great business that SigmaBleyzer and the Volia management
teams have built."

Volia Cable is the number-one cable TV and broadband Internet provider in
Ukraine, with a network that connects more than 900,000 homes in four
cities: Kiev, L'viv, Alchevsk and Chernivtsy.

Volia Cable was initially created through the consolidation of three
separate companies acquired in 1999 and 2000. Since acquisition, Volia has
integrated the activities of the original cable operators, yielding
significant cost savings by streamlining activities and eliminating
redundant departments and equipment.

Several separate cable networks in Kiev were consolidated, allowing the
company to manage all of its services and distribute its signal from one
location. This approach significantly reduced the cost of providing services
and gives the company a competitive advantage.

Michael Bleyzer, president and CEO of SigmaBleyzer, said. "This is a natural
step forward for Volia Cable, SigmaBleyzer and Volia Cable's other
shareholders. SigmaBleyzer will continue to play an active role in the
Ukrainian cable sector, and we look forward to Providence's support as we
continue to grow Volia Cable as the leading cable and broadband provider in

"It is also our belief that attracting the highest quality global investors
like Providence will have a positive effect on the Ukrainian economy and
investment climate and will further promote Ukraine as an important
investment destination."

Goldman Sachs International and UBS Investment Bank acted as financial
advisors to SigmaBleyzer. Lazard acted as financial advisors to Providence

Providence Equity Partners specializes in equity investments in media,
entertainment, communications and information companies around the
world and manages about $21 billion in equity commitments
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service]

Oxford Business Group, UK, Thu, 10 January 2008

"Dear fellow Ukrainians," began President Viktor Yushchenko in his New
Year's address to the nation. "We have a hard year behind us. We have lived
through much - highs and lows, dramas and happiness." This was perhaps
an understatement, given Ukraine's mercurial journey thorough 2007.

The country enjoyed economic growth for the eighth straight year, with a
figure of around 7% in 2007, fuelled by around $7bn in foreign investment in
agriculture, retail and manufacturing. On the downside, inflation ran wild -
soaring to 16.6% year-on-year in December - triggered by costlier energy
imports from Russia and rising food costs.

One of the biggest highs for Ukraine was its victorious bid to co-host the
Euro 2012 football championships. According to former Minister of Sports
Viktor Korzh, "There are serious investors who are ready to invest up to
37bn hryvnias ($7.7bn) in the construction of airports, roads, hotels and
improving sports infrastructure."

Ukraine's real estate boom reached a fever pitch in 2007 after property
values have climbed over 600% in the past four years. Russia's Mirax Group
and international developer Seven Hills entered the Kyiv market, competing
to become top investors in Ukraine.

Although one million square metres are currently under development in the
capital, new laws enacted by the mayor's office will put brakes on runaway
growth for this year.

In June, iron ore powerhouse Ferrexpo pressed ahead with a $1.6bn floatation
on the London Stock Exchange. With 25% of shares sold to hungry investors,
the company's initial public offering (IPO) marks the first full listing of
a Ukrainian company on the exchange.

Ferrexpo, which possesses the world's fourth-largest iron ore reserves,
plans to double production to 16m tonnes of pellets and up to 3.5m tonnes of
concentrate annually in seven years time.

Plans were set in motion to merge Russia's Gazmetal and Ukraine's Industrial
Union of Donbass (IUD) in February, triggering a new round of changes in the
global steel industry.

IUD, which is Ukraine's second-largest company, aims to gain a competitive
edge by gaining access to Gazmetal's iron ore reserves. Official results of
the merger will be announced early in 2008.

Banking takeovers also dominated business headlines, with a queue of
European banks clamouring for entry. In February, Swedbank purchased
TAS-Kommertsbank for $985m.

In November, another Swedish bank, SEB, bought Faktorial-Bank for $120m.
Bank of Cyprus confirmed plans to buy $76m of AvtoZAZbank, equal to 95%
of its shares, and National Bank of Greece finished its acquisition of Forum
and Kreditprombank.

According to the Financial Times, foreign financial institutions now
represent 30% of the banking market based on net assets, having tripled
since the 'orange revolution'.

Bloomberg reported on December 31 that Ukraine's stock market - the PFTS
Index - outperformed every market in the world except China's CSI Index,
climbing 135% in 2007. Many stocks witnessed quadruple digit growth.

In September, Wiener Börse, the Vienna stock exchange, created a Ukrainian
index, which lists the top 10 companies on the PFTS, raising Ukraine's
international profile for European investors. Around 150 members and 700
securities are listed on the bourse, which has a total market capitalisation
of $140bn.

The year 2007 also brought its share of low points. After series of fatal
blasts in the Zasyadko coal mine, a deadly gas accident at residential
buildings in Dnipropetrovsk and a toxic yellow phosphorus spill in Lviv,
Ukraine once again was featured in the international media as an ecological
danger zone.

The embattled state-run energy company Naftohaz ended the year with a dismal
record. By the end of December, the gas monopoly had lost $1bn for 2007.
After failing to file a year-end auditing report, as required by
bondholders, Naftohaz is now is in technical default of its $500m 2009

The Ukrainian government has thrown Naftohaz a $2.4bn lifevest to keep the
company afloat, but this amount only covers operating costs. It may be only
a matter of time before the company is forced into default by its creditors.

Politically, the year 2007 was characterised as one of crisis and stalemate.
Ukraine's three main political personalities discovered that the year 2007
would shape their futures for the upcoming presidential elections in 2010.

President Yushchenko made a comeback, dissolving parliament and calling
for snap elections. The decision in April to organise a pre-term vote
demonstrated the president's rare resolve and firmness.

Local media noted that Yushchenko translated 14% of votes for the Our
Ukraine-Self Defence (NU-NS) party into half of available governmental

Meanwhile, the year turned out quite poorly for outgoing prime minister
Viktor Yanukovych who initially contested the pre-term election and the
president's orders. His party organised a host of demonstrations, though the
move attracted lackluster popular support.

In the end, his Party of Regions commanded an impressive popular victory,
but it was not enough to form a governing coalition. Yanukovych was forced
to negotiate a broad coalition with the president, an unsuccessful process.

Yulia Tymoshenko won numerous political victories by increasing her
nationwide appeal and converting it into 30% of total votes for the Bloc of
Yulia Tymoshenko.

In the last days of the year, she hammered out an unstable coalition deal,
which returned her to the position as prime minister. In the first week of
January, she forced through the 2008 budget - an impressive feat given
months of stalemate.

However, 2008 is certain to bring a fresh wave of energy conflicts with
Russia, continued political instability and inflationary pressures.

The international business community will be keen to welcome Ukraine's
continued progress towards entry into the World Trade Organisation as well
as new opportunities for growth and investment.
General Enquiries enquiries@oxfordbusinessgroup.com
Editorial Enquiries cmartin@oxfordbusinessgroup.com
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service]
EBRD annual shareholders' meeting in Kyiv on 18-19 May 2008.

By Jonathan Holmberg, Kyiv Post Staff Writer
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, Jan 09 2008

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) closed
out 2007 with $935 million in projects throughout the year. Landmark deals
 included a $100 million loan to Galnaftohaz to expand the OKKO gasoline
station network, a $100 million deal to assist IKEA's entry into the country's
booming consumer market and a $100 million loan to Kyiv public
transportation entities.

Overall, ERBD's investment in Ukraine declined slightly, about 10% over the
previous year.  Bank spokesman, Anton Usov, said the decline was "due to the
fact that 2006 was such a remarkable year in which we exceeded our business
plan; not to any slowdown in bank operations."

The EBRD is set to begin 2008 with a flurry of project signings, valued at
$450 million during the first quarter alone. Highlights include a $220
million loan to the Rivne-Kyiv high power-line and a $139 million loan to
assist the O'Key hypermarket chain open three outlets.

An EBRD spokesman stated that Ukraine has made "remarkable progress on
the path toward establishing an enduring European-style representative
democracy, yet significant hurdles remain". Specifically, Anton Usov said,
"Ukraine needs to strengthen the court system, increase transparency,
rationalize land use law and, perhaps most important, a period of political
sustained stability."

As a tribute to Ukraine's impressive economic growth and political
transformation the EBRD will hold its annual shareholders' meeting in Kyiv
on 18-19 May 2008.

The EBRD is the largest private foreign investor in Ukraine. Since 1993, the
EBRD has invested $4.5 Billion in over 150 projects throughout the country.
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/business/general/28106/
[return to index] [U.S.-Ukraine Business Council Monitoring Service
Publisher and Editor - USUBC Business Journal
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer, The Bleyzer Foundation
Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group;
President, U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Washington;
1701 K Street, NW, Suite 903, Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel: 202 437 4707; Fax: 202 223 1224