16 Feb 2024 10:31

Ukrainian govt asks NBU to allow Kernel unit to make forex payments to creditors

MOSCOW. Feb 16 (Interfax) - Ukraine's Cabinet has asked the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) to allow Kernel-Trade LLC, a division of Ukrainian agribusiness group Kernel, to make a cross-border foreign currency transfer to pay foreign creditors, Ukrainian media reported citing the order posted on the government's website.

The order concerns a request to issue the company a permit to make a cross-border transfer totaling about $327.68 million to pay interest and repay the principal on two loans ($195.54 million and $132.14 million).

"The source of the repayment will be forex revenue earned by the company in the course of its business activities. The company does not need an additional purchase of foreign currency to carry out this type of transaction," the request said.

A permit to make the forex transfer will make it possible to prevent the company's bankruptcy, reduction of its business activities and decrease in forex revenue, the Cabinet said.

Under an NBU resolution on the banking system's operations during martial law issued on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian banks are prohibited from conducting cross-border foreign currency transfers from Ukraine. Exceptions are made for transfers based on individual permits from the NBU issued on the basis of government orders. An order must contain a specific request for permission to conduct the relevant forex transaction.

Kernel is one of Ukraine's largest producers and exporters of sunflower oil. The group also cultivates and sells other agricultural products.

It was reported earlier that Kernel expects to complete its delisting from the Warsaw Stock Exchange (WSE) in February. The company said at the beginning of this month that, based on information received from the Polish Financial Supervision Authority (KNF), proceedings regarding the delisting are being extended due to the analysis of additional evidence.

Following a review of Kernel's delisting, the WSE's independent corporate governance committee found that the actions of the group's Luxembourg-based holding company, Kernel Holding SA violated principal 4.13 of the DPSN best practices for listed companies.

Kernel said it needed to take the actions it did because of objective difficulties it is experiencing due to the situation in Ukraine.

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.