5 Mar 2024 17:07

Kernel revives oil transshipment at Chernomorsk port

MOSCOW. March 5 (Interfax) - Ukraine's Kernel agricultural holding in October-December 2023 allocated additional investments towards the rehabilitation of vegetable oils transshipment in the port of Chernomorsk, which was acquired by the Group in July 2023, enabling it to load a first vessel with sunflower oil in January 2024.

"This marked a significant milestone in the enterprise's operational revival," Ukrainian media quoted Kernel as saying in a report unveiled on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.

The report says that in December 2023, Kernel completed the acquisition of 100% of corporate rights in Reni-Oil LLC, a sunflower oil transshipment terminal with 15,000 tonnes of one-time sunflower oil storage in the Reni port, for $24.75 million. This asset is important for the Group, providing the capability to export sunflower oil in the event the Black Sea ports are disrupted.

In December 2023, the Group acquired a bulk carrier with grain cargo capacity of 50,000 tonnes, the report says. This, the third vessel in Kernel's fleet, represents a significant addition to enhance the Group's transportation and logistics capabilities.

In addition, in December 2023, Kernel launched the Group's fifth co-generation heat and power facility at one of its oil extraction plants, with 21 MW installed electricity generation capacity, which contributes to the group's resilience to the risk of potential power outages.

"The group is progressing as planned toward the commissioning of its new cutting-edge oilseed processing plant located in the Khmelnytsky region, slated for spring 2024. As of the date of this report's publication, initial commissioning activities have already commenced. Boasting an annual processing capacity of 1 million tonnes of sunflower seeds, this facility is poised to become Ukraine's largest of its kind," the report says.

The group invested $41 million in fixed assets, including the purchase of a supramax bulk carrier, in October-December 2023.

Kernel said in August last year that it signed deals to buy warehouse facilities for transshipment of vegetable oils in the port of Chernomorsk for $19.4 million and a terminal for transshipment of sunflower oil in the port of Reni for $24.75 million. Both ports are in the Odessa region.

"The one-time sunflower oil storage of 105,000 tonnes will enable the group nor to halt its processing plants during transport disruptions, as was the case in the 2022-2023 financial years, and to smooth out logistics," Kernel said at the time, commenting on the acquisitions.

Kernel said expanding infrastructure was essential for the agricultural holding in anticipation of the commissioning of the Starokonstantinovsky oil extraction plant in the Khmelnitsky region.

Kernel reported a net profit of $299 million for financial 2023, compared to a net loss of $41 million a year earlier. The group's revenue fell 35% to $3.455 billion, while EBITDA jumped 150% to $544 million.

In the first half of financial 2024, Kernel's net profit tumbled 72% year-on-year to $102 million and EBITDA fell by half to $223 million, as revenue slumped 16% to $1.59 billion.