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KIEV, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Agribusiness Kernel has sold Eurobonds worth $500 million of 8.875 percent Eurobonds in Ukraine’s first corporate issue since a 2013-14 uprising and separatist conflict plunged the country into economic crisis.
The Warsaw-listed Ukrainian company, the world’s largest producer and exporter of sunflower oil, said the placement represented a new chapter for Ukraine’s debt market.
“This is a landmark transaction for Kernel and Ukraine as we have once more opened the external debt market of the country after three years of stagnation,” it said in a statement.
The last bond from a Ukrainian corporate that wasn’t a part of a debt restructuring was in June 2013, when UkrLandFarming issued a March 2018 bond for $75 million.
Many Ukrainian companies, including steel giant Metinvest , have been forced to restructure their debt after the conflict slowed operations and caused two years of economic recession.
Ukrainian agricultural companies have suffered less than the industrial sector, much of which is based in eastern regions where fighting has damaged infrastructure and severed supply routes.
Kernel’s fortunes have recovered since it posted a net loss of more than $98 million for 2014. The company reported profit of close to $107 million for 2015 and $225 million for 2016.
Money raised through Kernel’s Eurobond will be used to increase capacity at its Black Sea grain terminal to 8 million tonnes from 4 million tonnes and to buy an oil processing plant with production capacity of up to 1.5 million tonnes.
The company will also increase its land holdings to 200,000 hectares, its press service said in emailed comments. (Reporting by Gdynia Newsroom and Natalia Zinets in Kiev; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by David Goodman)