- China’s CCEC trading firm is to loan $500 million to provide mortgage financing to build 30,000 low cost apartments for war veterans, military personnel, police and internally displaced people. Cabinet of Ministers approval of the loan was published Friday in Uriadovy Courier newspaper. In 2012, CCEC, or China Complete Engineering Corporation, signed a 15-year, $1.5 billion loan-for-grains deal with Ukraine’s state-run grain company GPZKU. CCEC also is interested in building light rail link to Boryspil airport and a big solar farm near Chornobyl.
- The EBRD will provide a $350 million syndicated loan to ArcelorMittal Kryvyi Rih, Ukraine's largest steel mill. The loan supports a larger investment plan of $1.1 billion at the mill. Anton Usov, EBRD regional spokesman, wrote on Facebook: “It is the largest private sector investment program in Ukraine in recent years." The loan supports the mill's modernization and environmental upgrade, reducing CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions as well as cutting yearly dust emissions from 14,700 tons to 3,000 tons. Francis Malige, EBRD regional managing director, said: “This particular investment brings to Ukraine the highest standards in corporate governance as well as advanced environmental practices and technologies."
- Western support for free market changes in Ukraine must continue, Francis Malige, EBRD regional managing director, writes in a guest essay in the Financial Times. “While the pushbacks are real, they also show that reforms are biting,” writes Malige, a French national. Representing the largest lender in Ukraine, he writes: "International support is tangible and delivers results." Bolstering western resolve, he notes, in 2018, the G7 presidency “rotates to Canada, a country with a large Ukrainian diaspora and a vocal friend of Ukraine.” He concludes: “Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine. It is in the power of the international community to not allow the empire of vested interest to strike back.”
- Pawel Jozef Stanczak, a Polish citizen, is to become the new president of Ukrtransgaz, the Naftogaz affiliate that moves gas across Ukraine. Previously, Stanczak was chief technology officer of PGNiG Technologie S.A., an affiliate of Poland’s state-controlled oil and gas company. The appointment was held up for five months pending a security check by the SBU, Ukraine’s State Security Service, Interfax reports.
- Today through Friday, the newly reconstituted energy rate setting commission is to consider 100 issues, including approval of 2018 tariffs for Energoatom, Ukrhydroenergo, Ukrenergo and renewable, ‘Green’ energies. One month ago, the National Commission for Regulation of Energy and Utilities lost its member quorum through illness and resignation. Facing paralysis in the energy sector, President Poroshenko appointed on Friday Viktoria Morozova and Vadim Taratun as temporary members with 90-day mandates.
- Applicants to provide 4G mobile service to Ukraine have until Jan. 26, to submit their documents. The tender is to be decided on Feb. 26, according to the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Information Technology. With six lots, minimum payments range from to $10 to $47 million.
- KPMG-Ukraine increased revenue by one third in 2017 and increased staff, according to Andrey Tsymbal, managing partner of KPMG in Kyiv. By contrast, KPMG International increased global revenues by 5% in 2017.
- President Trump is preparing to approve the supply of 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 35 rocket launchers, abcnews.go.com news site reports, citing anonymous State Department officials. This sale -- or gift -- of $47 million worth of lethal military equipment, requires U.S. Congressional approval. Separately, The Washington Post reports that the State Department has approved the sale of $41.5 million worth of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and parts, made by Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms Manufacturing. In Moscow, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov, complained that such arms are “not in the framework of commercial contacts.”
- The National Anti-Corruption Bureau has been investigating reports of corruption in Ukroboronprom, the state-run conglomerate of about 130 defense production companies, according to an article in Foreign Policy.com. Askold Krushelnycky, a British journalist with Ukraine experience, writes that he was shown a NABU internal report alleging that two executives at UkrSpecExport, Ukroboronprom’s export arm, siphoned money from a $39 million contract to supply parts for Antonov AN-32 aircraft to Iraq’s defense ministry. In reply, Roksolana Sheiko, spokeswoman for Ukroboronprom, is quoted saying the prosecutor general's office investigated the allegations, but "there was no violation detected by the company or its officials."
- The defense industry may become a driver of the economy in 2018, Prime Minister Groysman told reporters Friday. Citing a figure close to $600 million, he said: "We are allocating UAH 16.5 billion next year to produce new weapons and modernize [weapons]."
- A state-owned Belarusian bank has applied to Ukraine's central bank to buy the Ukraine subsidiary of Russia's Sberbank. Paritetbank, the bidder, is the 15th largest of 25 lenders in Belarus.
- Odesa port has accepted its first 5,000 container ship, the 294-meter long Zim Haifa from Israel. The Container Terminal was able to handle the ship last week thanks to investments by the German operator, HHLA International GmbH. Anastas Kokkin, CEO of the terminal, said his three new dockside gantry cranes can unload up to 90 containers an hour. He said: “For us it is a sign that the service we provide is close to the European level.” HHLA says it can now handle the Black Sea’s largest ships, the Bosphorus Max. Measuring up to 310 meters long, these vessels can carry 10,000 containers.
- Starting Jan. 1, foreign ships are allowed to enter Ukraine's ports and to start unloading goods 24 hours after providing electronic information about the cargo, EU4Business reports. The new system will speed up customs procedures and reduce opportunities for corruption, the EU-funded project says in a press release.
- Starting Monday, all foreigners arriving at Ukraine’s border posts will give their fingerprints through fingerprint readers as part of a biometric data registration system. Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told UNIAN that “in the pipeline is monitoring the movement of Russian citizens throughout Ukraine.” This could be a modern version of Soviet-era visas, which were issued only for defined itineraries.
- Kherson region officials are to travel to Dublin in January to talk with Ryanair about flights to Kherson International Airport. Currently Ukraine’s 8th busiest airport, Kherson and nearby Mykolaiv make for a combined passenger catchment area of 1 million people. After Crimea closed to domestic tourism, Mykolaiv-Kherson tourism boomed. With scheduled flights to Kyiv, Egypt, and Turkey, Kherson gains a Belavia flight on April 1 to Minsk, a transfer airport for flights to Moscow. Mykolaiv airport has not had commercial flights for several years.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at email@example.com