4 October 2017

UKRAINE’S REFORM DRIVE IS POWERING AHEAD, EM INVESTORS SHOULD TAKE NOTE

Kyiv, xx 2017 – Speakers at the 3rd annual Ukrainian Financial Forum praised the scale of reform that has been accomplished over the past three years in Ukraine. However all agreed it is crucial to accelerate the implementation of reforms to spur economic growth and pave the way for official membership of the EU.

 

ICU, an independent asset management firm specialising in Central and Eastern Europe, gathered leaders from Ukraine’s political, financial and business worlds alongside international decision makers at its annual forum to discuss the progress of reform in Ukraine.  Speakers included Yanis Varoufakis, economist and former finance minister of Greece, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk, and Jonathan David Ostry, Deputy Director of Research at the IMF.

 

Makar Paseniuk, Managing Partner at ICU, said:

“Ukraine needs foreign direct investment, it is crucial for the country’s future prosperity. We need to create a healthier backdrop and a more positive agenda if we are going to generate interest and build confidence from foreign investors that Ukraine is an emerging market that they should not ignore.

 

“Ukraine has made remarkable progress in a short period of time however it still has a long way to go. It is important that the government forges ahead and accelerates the reform process. This will be a powerful signal to the investors waiting on the sidelines nervous about corruption, transparency and legal protection.”

 

A series of panel discussions and presentations from experienced industry experts provided unique insights into the most pertinent themes surrounding reform in Ukraine.

 

On the pace of the reform agenda:

  • Panelists acknowledged the significant progress of Ukraine’s reform but agreed the pace of implementation needs to accelerate - the country is not even halfway through planned reforms and is considerably behind countries which it seeks to view as its peers
  • Returning to the Eurobond market is undoubtedly a very positive sign, but the market will immediately close in the event of a roll back of reforms

 

On anti-corruption measures

  • Panelists agreed some progress has been made tackling corruption, especially in state procurement and the gas sector
  • However, legal and court system reform remains one of Ukraine’s biggest challenges. If this problem is not solved attracting outside investment will be impossible as investors need to feel confident that their rights will be protected
  • Unrelenting talk about corruption in the domestic and international media is killing outside investor interest in Ukraine

 

On land reform

  • Panelists identified land reform as a primary concern for Ukraine - it is one of only two countries on the European continent that do not have a functioning land market
  • Land reform is extremely important as it would boost productivity in Ukraine’s agricultural sector which is central to exports

 

On the privatization of state owned assets

  • Panelists agreed privatization of key industries will be a powerful signal for investors who are still waiting on the side lines, hesitant to invest in Ukraine
  • A number of important transformations have already taken place in the energy sector but more needs to be done - the potential volume of capital to be raised from the sale of state owned land is estimated at $15-20 billion

The Ukrainian Financial Forum was held in Odessa, Ukraine from 21 – 22 September.
 

 

For further information, or to arrange an interview with ICU, please contact:

Montfort Communications

Rory King / Louis Supple

(+44 (0)203 770 7906 / +44 (0)203 770 7914)

ICU@montfort.london

 

Notes to Editors

 

About ICU

ICU is an independent asset management, private equity and investment advisory firm specialising in the emerging markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

 

Founded in 2006 by senior investment professionals from ING, ICU is Ukraine's leading asset manager. ICU currently manages over $400m in assets. Since 2010 ICU’s flagship CIS Opportunities Fund has delivered returns exceeding 16 percent per year, net of fees, versus less than 1% annual returns for the HFRI Emerging Markets Russia/Eastern Europe Index over the same period.

 

ICU’s veteran investment team has experience in private equity, high yield corporate debt, distressed debt, restructurings and other special situations across a number of emerging markets. Investment decisions are supported by robust macroeconomic and sectoral analyses from the in-house team of research economists.

 

ICU aims to provide its clients with superior risk-adjusted returns across a number of asset classes. The firm is expanding its reach into key European markets via a combination of organic growth and acquisition and continues to expand the range its investment offerings. 

 

About the Ukranian Economic Forum

Organised in collaboration with the Kyiv School of Economics, the annual Ukrainian Financial Forum is one of the foremost financial events in Ukraine. The Forum is an open platform for distinguished authorities on international economics and politics to discuss the global macroeconomic trends and domestic market reforms that are shaping Ukraine's economy.