On March 21, USUBC organized a group meeting in Kyiv with Mr. Matteo Patrone, Managing Director, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus (EEC) at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) who is based in Kyiv. His area of responsibility includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, where EBRD invests about € 1.8 billion a year in more than 75 new transactions, representing approximately 20 per cent of the Bank’s annual business activity. The Bank holds a portfolio of over € 7 billion in EEC.

Mr. Patrone has a staff of 180 reporting to him, and with over 25 years of experience in banking and finance is well positioned to oversee EBRD’s activities in Ukraine and other countries in the EEC area.

Mr. Patrone started the meeting with brief introduction to EBRD’s operating procedures. As in most countries, EBRD in Ukraine works in three ways: through direct investments, through policy dialog and through technical assistance.

Not all of EBRD’s € 3.8 billion portfolio in Ukraine are in operating assets: with the “bias” toward the public sector where projects take more time to get implemented some are still being in preparation phase. Only 44% of the portfolio is currently in private sector even though EBRD is more fond of the private sector. Also, only € 2 billion are currently in operating assets.

In October 2018, EBRD Board of Directors approved a new country strategy for Ukraine which sets its priorities for the next 5 years. Priority areas include:

  • Promoting privatization in the public sector and promoting public sector procurement reform as well as the introduction of proper public governance through EBRD’s work with state-owned enterprises, funding the work of Secretariat of the National Investment Council and Business Ombudsman Council;
  • Strengthening energy security through effective regulation, market liberalization, diversified and increased production and energy efficiency, in particular focusing on reforming NaftoGaz, modifying energy trading regime for renewable energy to auctions, investing in energy efficiency and municipal solid waste-to-energy projects; USUBC encouraged EBRD to consider expanding its work in the nuclear sector to include alternative fuel sources in addition to the current work on safety of the nuclear industry, as well as support projects in oil and gas production to improve energy independence;
  • Promoting the rule of law, fair competition in the private sector and support of companies that use best practice;
  • Enhancing the resilience of the financial system by strengthening Ukraine’s banking sector, by developing capital markets and non-bank finance, eventually privatizing the state-owned banks;
  • Improving integration with the EU by facilitating trade and investment, expanding infrastructure links, and supporting convergence with EU standards through working with banks on subsidized financing to SMEs in Hryvnjas and working with leasing arrangements.

In the picture left to right: Eric Luhmann , The Greenbrier; Mike Kirst, Westinghouse; Alex McWhorter, Citi; Edi Segura, The Bleyzer Foundation; Matteo Patrone , EBRD; Michael Datsenko; USUBC; Andriy Tsymbal, KPMG; Irina Paliashvili; RULG- Ukrainian Legal Group; Greg Fishman, Deloitte; Bob Bond , USAID Financial Sector Transformation Project /DAI;

Michael Datsenko who moderated the meeting thanked EBRD’s Washington, DC office for active cooperation with USUBC in promoting Ukraine as a place to do business and encouraged the audience to alert their U.S. offices to be in touch with EBRD in Washington. Naturally, EBRD’s Washington, DC office works not just on Ukraine but on projects in other countries as well.

In the picture left to right; Edi Segura, The Bleyzer Foundation; Matteo Patrone , EBRD;

This group meeting had the highest number of Executive Committee members present: Dr. Irina Paliashvili (RULG – Ukrainian Legal Group), Michael Kirst (Westinghouse), Eric Luhmann (Amsted Rail/Greenbrier), Gregory Fishman (Deloitte). Other USUBC members at the head table were Dr. Edi Segura (SigmaBleyzer and The Bleyzer Foundation), Alex McWhorter (Citi), Robert Bond (Financial Sector Transformation Project/DAI) and Andriy Tsymbal (KPMG). Approximately 80 USUBC members and friends joined us for this meeting.