Exploring opportunities in Ukraine (summer 2021)
Given the eclectic backgrounds of our team at PGA, we are frequently exposed to new investment and business development opportunities globally. While the majority of investment banks direct their focus toward developed markets like the US and the EU, lots of high-yield projects are surfacing beyond their radar in countries with emerging markets like Ukraine. PGA Managing Director Ken Griffin and our Executive Advisor in Ukraine, Sergey Milenky, first met approximately ten years ago on an acquisition mandate on behalf of a major industrial manufacturer and Ukraine has been a productive market for PGA since its founding in 2015.
Ukraine’s population approximates 44 million, which, for comparative purposes, is a bit higher than the population of Canada, and about four times more than that of European neighbors such as the Czech Republic, Sweden, Portugal, Greece, and Hungary.
While Ukraine has been mentioned in the US media as a political football in recent years, the country benefits from strong natural resources and a growing post-Soviet economy with development opportunities in virtually every sector. Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe and has favorable proximity to the EU’s eastern borders as well as direct access the Black Sea – a very significant logistical attribute in comparison to other land-locked European countries.
Ukraine is rich in natural resources that are a capstone for the development of extraction and processing industries. While traditional fossil fuels have historically dominated Ukraine’s power and energy sectors, the country is enjoying significant growth in renewable energy generation as legacy power plants are phased out and more traditional renewables such as wind and solar are rapidly growing market share. Ukraine also benefits from its moderate climate and rich black soil which are highly conducive for growth in the agriculture (crops and plants used in industry) and forestry sectors.
While the country’s buying power is relatively low due to low income per capita, Ukraine’s population is well educated. This, together with relatively low operating costs compared with other European countries, creates favorable conditions for the allocation of manufacturing for further export of produced goods worldwide. International companies with established production facilities in Ukraine include Lafarge, ArcellorMittal, Bosch, Leoni, Fujikura, Sumitomo Electric Bordnetze, Nexans, Bader, SKF, Kronospan, Nestle, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Unilever, Bayer, Cargill, Jabil, HEAD, and many others.
It is also worth noting that Ukraine is one of the major IT outsourcing destinations – there are over 200,000 local IT professionals. The large local IT community is a prerequisite for many IT and high-tech startups. One example is Ukrainian-born Vladyslav Yatsenko, who is now co-founder and chief technology officer of the London-based fintech Revolut. There are also a number of surging Ukrainian startups seeking to become unicorns in their segments and representing intriguing investment opportunities for venture capital.
As Ukraine’s economy has benefited from free enterprise, national market leaders have evolved creating opportunities for strategic acquisitions by growth-focused companies seeking to enter Eastern Europe. Here again, Ukraine’s abundance of educated workers, natural resources, and good logistics provides a natural platform for future growth in the context of acquiring a company that is already successful on a national scale or large regional scale. Our PGA team is well-positioned to identify strategic acquisition targets and to facilitate the necessary steps for successful execution of investment mandates in Ukraine.
Listed below are some potential investment and business sector representing opportunities in Ukraine (contact us for more details!):
Investments in infrastructure
− Acquisition of electricity distribution system operators (DSO’s)
− Construction and operation of toll roads/highways
Renewable energy projects
− Industrial decarbonization
− Renewable energy projects operating under feed-in tariffs
Extraction of oil & gas
Mining of critical raw materials
Trading / export of goods
− Crops, agricultural products
− Steel and steel products
Import of goods and services
IT outsourcing and outstaffing
Set up of production capacities to produce goods for local and international (mostly European) markets
Privatization of large-, mid-scale state-owned companies
Acquisition of private companies, venture capital investments
Our local PGA team is ready to assist in exploring investment and business opportunities, facilitating cross-border due diligence and negotiating win-win transactions and trading relationships.
More information on some opportunities will be provided in our upcoming publications and also available upon request.