1 Feb 2024 16:05

Procedure to delist Kernel shares from Warsaw Stock Exchange extended again, could be completed in February

MOSCOW. Feb 1 (Interfax) - Kernel agricultural holding, one of Ukraine's largest agro-industrial groups, expects to complete the procedure to delist its shares from the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in February 2024, Ukrainian media reported, citing the company's statement on the WSE.

"Based on information received from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), Kernel agroholding announces that the proceedings to delist the company from the Warsaw Stock Exchange have been extended owing to an analysis of additional facts, and are expected to be completed in February 2024," Kernel said.

The KNF at the end of November said that it might require more time to take a decision on delisting the Ukrainian agroholding's shares, clarifying that the duration of the administrative procedure to obtain permission to delist would largely depend on interaction with Luxembourg's Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF).

Based on the results of the analysis to delist Kernel's shares, the independent corporate governance committee operating on the WSE recognized the actions of Kernel's holding company, Luxembourg-based Kernel Holding SA, as being in violation of principle 4.13 of the rules on the good-faith practice of exchange-traded companies.

Kernel explained that the external challenges that the agroholding has been experiencing owing to the situation in Ukraine necessitated the actions taken.

Namsen Limited, controlled by Andrei Verevsky, Kernel's CEO and majority shareholder, acquired 1.2 million of the company's shares, or 0.4% of the total, on November 23, thereby increasing Verevsky's stake to approximately 94.37% when accounting for the treasury shares. Verevsky earlier last year increased his stake from 41.3% to 93.67% via a share buyback and the planned delisting, as well as through a supplementary share issue held in the summer.

Minority shareholders have said that they planned to appeal against the supplementary share issue with Luxembourg's CSSF regulator, as well as in the courts. Private investor Pavel Boiko said on November 17 that a group that brought together "more than a thousand investors from all over the world, from the smallest to 1 million shares," had filed a lawsuit "on unlawful manipulation, statements and internal decisions by Kernel regarding the on delisting," and that a second lawsuit was being prepared to cancel the issue that quadrupled the number of shares.

Kernel is one of the largest producers and sellers of bottled oil in Ukraine, and is a major producer and exporter of sunflower oil, as well as cultivates agricultural products and sells them.

Kernel reported net profit of $299 million for the 2023 fiscal year compared to a net loss of $41 million the previous year. The group's revenue fell 35% to $3.455 billion, while EBITDA jumped 2.5-fold to $544 million.