DCH Group President Oleksandr Yaroslavsky has ruled out an imminent return to control of Metalist Kharkiv in light of the current circumstances surrounding the club. Instead, he says his immediate priorities include widening his Group’s involvement in the Ukrainian financial sector. “I will certainly be expanding my presence in the financial segment. If the Prominvestbank acquisition does not materialize, I will consider other banks. I have recently purchased a number of industrial assets and will need a bank to manage their finances.”
This would not be Mr. Yaroslavsky’s first experience of the Ukrainian banking sector. “I am well aware of what is required for a bank to work effectively based on my experience with UkrSibbank, which I founded and which continues to operate successfully on the Ukrainian market.” The 1990s establishment of UkrSibbank marked the start of Mr. Yaroslavsky’s investment in his native Kharkiv region. “This is my hometown and I am happy to be able to continue investing in Kharkiv,” he commented.
Mr. Yaroslavsky’s interest in the banking sector is tied to industrial assets including the Kharkiv Tractor Plant and Sukha Balka enterprise. The Kharkiv-based businessman identified the current priorities at Sukha Balka as boosting output and reducing costs. Meanwhile, he wants to see Kharkiv Tractor Plant recapture its position on domestic markets. “Why should we contribute to the budgets of European countries which manage perfectly well without us? Now that we have restarted production, we have started to expand on the domestic market. This is a major victory.”
Mr. Yaroslavsky has also had reason to cheer the performance of Kharkiv International Airport, which features among the DCH Group’s assets. In May 2017, the airport posted a record of more than 84,300 passengers – more than during the previous peak in summer 2012 when Kharkiv hosted Euro 2012 group stage matches. He attributed this success to the airport’s management strategy and said the current passenger record is unlikely to stand for long due to ongoing effects to attract additional carriers to Kharkiv. The medium-term goal, he said, is to triple passenger numbers.
One of Mr. Yaroslavsky’s most prized previous assets was Metalist Kharkiv Football Club, where he served as president for a number of years and was closely associated with the team’s success in the Ukrainian Premier League and UEFA competitions. There has been considerable media speculation over a possible return to Metalist, but Mr. Yaroslavsky moved this week to dampen expectations. “Taking over at Metalist once more is currently impossible due to the incomprehensible condition the club is in at present,” he said. “Furthermore, I am not interested in other Ukrainian clubs. In terms of the possible acquisition of a foreign club, I do not know. Only time will tell.”