News (#12 December 2019)

Biznews

Oil & Gas

Denmark granted permit for Nord Stream-2 construction

The Danish Energy Agency has granted Nord Stream 2 AG permission to construct part of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline on the countrys continental shelf.

The permit was granted for construction on the continental shelf south-east of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea. The Agency concluded that this route was the safest and most compliant to environmental standards.

The permit was granted under the Continental Shelf Law and was based on Denmarks obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. According to these, Denmark is obliged to allow the construction of transit pipelines in view of resources and the environment, and, where applicable, to specify where such pipelines are to be laid.

North Stream-2 is virtually complete, but Denmark was the last country to grant a permit for its construction.

Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic States, and the United States deem North Stream-2 to be a political project that the Russian Federation can use to blackmail Europe in future.

Germany and Austria support the project as their companies are involved in the pipelines construction.

M&A

Google acquired Fitbit, fitness tracker manufacturer

Google has acquired Fitbit, a manufacturer of fitness tracker, for USD 2.1 billion. It will pay USD 7.35 per share in Fitbit. The total transaction amount is worth approximately USD 2.1 billion.

It is noted that Fitbit will remain an independent unit within Google and will not share user data with its parent corporation for promotional purposes.

When announcing the transaction on Googles official blog, Rick Osterloh, the Vice President and the Head of Hardware Division of Google, said that the acquisition of Fitbit is, first and foremost, an opportunity to invest more in WearOS and also bring devices made by Google to the market.

International Monitoring

Doing business-2020: top of the rating

New Zealand topped the Doing business-2020 investment attractiveness rating, with Georgia ranked the highest among the post-Soviet countries and got to seventh place. New Zealand, in addition to coming first in the overall rating, tops the list of countries under the following criteria: receiving a loan and starting business. Singapore ranked the second and Hong Kong the third. The last in the top 5 are Denmark and South Korea. The Top 10 also included the USA, Georgia, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Sweden. Ukraine ranked 64th, thus improving its last year position by 7 points. Among post-Soviet countries, Lithuania ranks 11th, Estonia 18th, Latvia 19th, Kazakhstan 25th, Russian Federation 28th, Moldova 48th, Belarus 49th. Somalia was ranked last in the rating.

S&P raised Kyivs credit rating

The international rating agency, S&P Global Ratings, raised Kyivs long-term credit rating from B- to B with a stable outlook. Outlook improvements under S&P ratings can be explained by two factors:

1. Agency experts believe that following completion of the infrastructure facilities construction, Kyiv will repay the debt to the central government in full, which will reduce the direct debt by 50% by 2021;

2. S&P believes that uncertainty over the possible resignation of Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko and the date of the next local elections will not adversely affect the citys ability to fulfill its debt obligations.

Moodys confirmed Ukraines rating and improved outlook to positive

The international rating agency Moodys Investors Service, has improved its outlook for the Ukrainian government from stable to positive by confirming the issuers long-term ratings and priority unsecured loans of Ukraine at Caa1 level.

Moodys states that significant payments due under external debt in coming years subject to non-availability of a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program require permanent access to markets.

At the same time, suppression of the upward movement of credit rating contributes to the risk of new aggravation of geopolitical tensions.

The agency called the key factors for improving the forecast restoration of Ukraines foreign exchange reserves, which reduces external vulnerability within the context of large external payments, as well as improving the countrys macroeconomic stability and prospects for restoring reforms that enhance the countrys economic stability.

At the same time, Moodys confirmed a Ca rating on Eurobonds worth USD 3 billion, which Ukraine sold to Russia in December 2013, and which are the subject of a dispute between the two governments due to the ongoing armed conflict, and which is currently being considered in a London court.

Besides, the agency retained long-term insurance caps in foreign currency and deposits of Ukraine at B3 and Caa2 levels respectively, and short-term ones at Not Prime (NP) level.

Moodys also kept the countrys caps in local currency unchanged, at B3 level.

Banking & Finance

Uber aims to enter financial services market

Uber has announced the creation of Uber Money division for financial services business management, which is intended for issuing credit and debit cards, as well as for offering digital wallets for drivers.

By using Uber Wallet, drivers, couriers, and customers can easily track their earnings and expenses history, manage and transfer their funds, and discover new Uber financial products in one place. Uber Wallet will appear in Uber Driver app in the coming weeks, the company website stated.

At first, in the USA, and then in other countries, drivers will be able to subscribe for a free debit card linked to the account provided by Green Dot.

Ukraine to get EUR 900 million from EBRD & EIB for road building

Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk recently signed two documents to the value of EUR 900 million related to a co-financing project for building Ukrainian roads by the European Investment Bank and European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development.

This refers to financing the building of the M05 Kyiv-Odesa highway passing through Cherkasy, Mykolaiv and Odesa Regions, as well as to the construction of the northern section of the bypass road around Lviv.

The documents were signed as part of the EBRD Eastern Partnership Investment Forum held in London on 22 November.

Telecommunications

Acquisition of Vodafone Ukraine

NEQSOL Holdinginternational group of companies has announced the signing of a binding agreement withMTS(NYSE: MBT, MOEX: MTSS) byTelco SolutionsandInvestments LLCcontrolled by telecommunications companyBakcell LLC,which is a part of the NEQSOL Holding international group of companies,to purchase its telecommunications operations in Ukraine.

Under this agreement, MTSs wholly owned subsidiaryAllegretto s.a.r.lsells its 100% stake in its Dutch subsidiaryPreludium B.V., the sole shareholder ofVF Ukraine PrJSC, for cash consideration of USD 734 million, including approximately USD 84 million earn-out.

The change of owner will not affect Vodafone Ukraines operations. The company will continue providing services under the brand of Vodafone and deliver on all its commitments to its employees, clients and partners.

Internet

Google to impose stricter rules on political adverts

Google will limit targeting opportunities for political advertising on its services.

When placing political agitation, advertisers will be able to determine their target audience only by using three parameters gender, age, and place of residence accurate to a zip code.

They will also be allowed to use targeting by context to show their advertisements to people interested in similar topics.

Within a week, new rules will take effect in the UK where early parliamentary elections will take place in early December. These will also be introduced for the EU by the end of 2019, and from January 2020 for other countries.

Manufacturing

Swiss company relocates plant from Poland to Ukraine

Calyx Capital Advisers is doubling its production capacities in Ukraine. Next year, it will relocate a plant manufacturing control panels for home appliances from Poland to Ivano-Frankivsk, where it will employ up to 1,000 workers.

Calyx will also begin work in 2020 on construction of a plant manufacturing auto spare parts in a new industrial park in the town of Bila Tserkva, meaning that 450 jobs will be relocated from Germany to Ukraine.

In the long term, the company plans to make use of more than 25,000 square meters at the Zaporizhzhya Automobile Plant to create an EU-oriented business campus of spare parts and maintenance where 5,000 persons will be employed.

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