Ukrainian businessman Oleksandr Yaroslavsky is a regular fixture at the annual World Economic Forum and this year during his time in Switzerland he has focused on targeted meetings addressing specific investment opportunities in Ukraine. Yaroslavsky told reporters 26 January that he had held talks with American and Chinese investors over the possibility of establishing new production facilities within the Kharkiv Tractor Plant site, while also discussing co-financing of development at his Sukha Balka mine with banks and international financial institutions.
“At one point, the Kharkiv Tractor Plant employed 45,000 people and produced 50,000 tractors, whereas it now employs 3,000 and produces 1,000 tractors. There is considerable additional capacity for other industrial activity and I would like to attract partners,” he commented.
Yaroslavsky purchased the iconic Kharkiv Tractor Plant in April 2016 in what he termed as “practically ruined condition.” “The plant had stood idle for a year and had lost its position on virtually every market. My goal now is to breathe new life into the plant.” Talks in Davos focused on creating an industrial park within the 150-hectare territory of the plant and rapidly expanding the workforce.
DCH Group president and owner Yaroslavsky also took advantage of this year’s WEF to address possible co-financing of new projects at the Sukha Balta mine in Krivih Rih, which he acquired in May 2017 from Evraz. Talks took place with commercial banks and international financial institutions including the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Yaroslavsky commented that he prefers to use the annual Davos gathering for meetings with specific goals in mind, rather than engaging in general discussions on the Ukraine’s investment climate and economic outlook. Reflecting on a number of recent acquisitions, he also stressed his intention to continue focusing his investment activities on Ukraine. “I said I was going to invest in Ukraine and purchase Ukrainian enterprises, and I have remained true to my word with a number of deals including Kharkiv Tractor Plant, Sukha Balta and INGO insurance company (purchased in July 2017).” He confirmed plans for further purchases in 2018, but declined to provide details.
DCH Group has been active in Ukraine for 20 years with a portfolio of projects in a wide range of sectors including UkrSibbank (later sold to international banking group BNP Paribas), Cherkassy Azot, Kyivstar mobile operator, and Kharkiv’s preparations to serve as a host city during the Euro 2012 football championship. The business group’s current priorities include finance, construction and construction materials production, and the hotel business. DCH assets include Kharkiv International Airport, the Karavan shopping mall network, and the five-star Premier Palace Hotel Kharkiv. In mid-2017, Yaroslavsky was reportedly in the running to acquire Prominvestment, the Ukrainian daughter bank of Russia’s VEB. However, the potential acquisition failed to gain approval from VEB.