Russia grain exporter Soyuz spreads into Ukraine-sources
KIEV/LONDON Nov 13 (Reuters) - Soyuz Commodities, the fast-growing Russian grain exporting arm of Summa Capital, is expanding its footprint further into the cereal-rich Black Sea region, industry sources say.
The grain-trading arm of Russian investment group Summa Capital is starting operations in Ukraine, as it quickly becomes one of Russia's top exporters in 2012/13 alongside international trade houses including Glencore and Louis Dreyfus, the sources said.
Soyuz Ukraine, a unit of Switzerland-based Soyuz Commodities, has already recruited experienced traders including Bjoern Stendel, who helped start Canadian grain handler Viterra's operations in Kiev in 2010, before Viterra's subsequent takeover by Glencore.
Summa declined to comment. Investment and trading group Summa, owned by tycoon Ziyavudin Magomedov, has significant holdings in industries including oil and gas infrastructure, and transport.
The Black Sea region typically accounts for about a quarter of the global wheat trade. Its countries - Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan - which normally produce about 10 percent of the world's wheat - were hit by a drought this year, which slashed their grain harvest by a third.
Ukraine, which plans to harvest 46.2 million tonnes of grain in 2012, including 15 million of wheat and 20-21 million tonnes of maize, plans to export at least 20 million tonnes of various grains in the 2012/13 season, which runs from July to June.
The former Soviet republic, which plans to boost grain output to 80 million tonnes by 2020, exported 22.8 million in 2011/12.
Summa boosted its grain operations earlier this year by purchasing a 49 percent stake in Russia's state grain trader UGC for 6 billion roubles ($180 million).
Acquisitive Summa is expected to be considering a number of possible deals at a time of consolidation in the global grains sector.
Last month, sources told Reuters that Summa had asked the state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) to fund a possible acquisition of Australia's GrainCorp which has already received a bid from U.S. agriculture giant Archer Daniels Midland.