Ukrainian grain business Kernel to sell off last Russian assets
April 21, 2017
Ukrainian agribusiness company Kernel plans to sell its 50% stake in the Taman grain terminal, its last remaining asset in Russia, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported on 31 March.
The most likely buyer was reported to be the Swiss commodity trader Glencore, which purchased the other half of the terminal with Kernel in 2012 from the Efko Group for US$262M.
Igor Pavensky, deputy director of strategic marketing at Rusagotrans, told the news agency that Taman handled a record 3.38M tonnes of grain in the last season, of which Kernel’s share was approximately 35%.
This year, however, Pavensky said shipments were down by 14% compared to last year at 2.53M tonnes in July-March, with Kernel accounting for 39% of the total.
Rusagotrans estimates show that Taman handled more than 10% of Russia’s total grain exports shipped by sea.
Interfax estimated Kernel’s stake in the terminal to be valued anywhere between US$70M and US$150M.
The Vedomosti newspaper reported in March 2016 that Kernel was selling oil extraction plants in Florentina and Maslo Stavropolya, and it had sold another facility in Nevinnomysk to the Swedish retail finance company Resurs Group in 2014.
Kernel’s revenues were reported to have fallen 14.6% to US$1.9bn in the 2016 financial year, with its grain sales decreasing 7% to 4.4M tonnes.
The Taman seaport is Russia’s largest terminal for liquid food cargo handling, with its throughput dominated by vegetable oil, beet molasses, sunflower meal and beet pulp.
It had the capacity to handle 3.6M tonnes of grain annually and features an elevator with storage capacity for 80,000 tonnes and potential for expansion to 220,000 tonnes, Interfax wrote.
In 2008, the terminal received its first vegetable oil tanker.