News (#1-2 January-February 2022)

Biznews

Infrastructure

Concession of Kherson Seaport completed

On 23 December 2021 the Ministry of Infrastructure, Sea Ports Authority, Risoil-Kherson, and Kherson Seaport signed deeds of concession of Kherson Commercial Seaport for 30 years.

The total amount of investment in the port is UAH 320 million. The concession holder plans to modernize and renovate equipment, introduce automation into warehouses, and install additional silos. To that end, an investment schedule has been approved and technical projects developed.

Kherson Port will be modernized, thereby significantly increasing its efficiency. At least UAH 216 million in investment in the port and at least UAH 18 million in the infrastructure of Kherson are set to be made in the next 3.5 years. In particular, there are plans to co-finance the replacement of roads leading to the port and the construction of a new facility for HGVs outside the city.

Capital investments will enable the unlocking of deve-lopment potential for inland waterway transportation, as the port is located on the Dnipro Delta. One of the terms of the concession agreement is to raise the share of cargo delivered to the port by inland waterway and railway transport to 80%.

Under the terms of the concession agreement, the concession holder undertakes the following obligations:

to pay an annual concession fee of at least UAH 12 million, including indexation and 7% of net income;

during the first three and a half years following the transition period, to invest at least UAH 216 million, and during the first 10 years at least an extra UAH 62 million;

by 2030, to ensure the volume of port cargo transshipment of at least 1.36 million tons;

to ensure continuous port operations;

to transfer all employees of the Kherson Seaport and some USPA employees, respective job termination is prohibited for 10 years;

to prevent the reduction of employees salaries during the first 3 years from the moment they are hired by the concession holder, and to increase payments pursuant to legislation;

to take measures related to environmental protection.

The indirect founders of Port of Kherson LLC are Risoil Group of Companies and Georgian Industrial Group. The concession agreement on the Kherson Commercial Sea Port was signed in June 2020.

Banking & Finance

World Bank granted Ukraine EUR 300 million loan

The World Banks Board of Executive Directors has approved a second loan of EUR 300 million to develop an economic recovery policy in Ukraine.

The funds will be used to support reforms crucial to the countrys economic recovery and growth, as well as to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This World Bank loan is intended to support key reforms: economy deregulation and strengthening the anti-corruption institutions; developing the land and credit markets, including facilitating access for small farmers to financing; strengthening the social protection system for the elderly to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19.

Bolt raised EUR 628 million in investment

The Bolt service announced the largest round of financing in its history the company raised EUR 628 million, raising its assessed valuation to EUR 7.4 billion.

The investment funds raised will be used to further scale up the companys existing products and accelerate the transition from personal cars to car-sharing services in cities, the company says.

The investment round worth EUR 628 million was topped by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company with Whale Rock, Owl Rock (Blue Owl division), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo, and others.

Bolt recently announced the introduction of a number of new safety features in its largest European electric scooter sharing network.

More than 100 million customers in 45 countries and more than 400 cities around Europe and Africa use Bolts products.

Gates Fund to invest USD 15 billion in green technologies

The Breakthrough Energy Catalyst Foundation, supported by billionaire Bill Gates, plans to invest up to USD 15 billion in green technology projects in the USA, EU, and the UK. The fund will invest in four key areas: direct air capture, green hydrogen, aviation fuel, and energy storage technologies.

The funds will be granted as charitable donations, investments in shares, and product acquisition agreements.

Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will invest in large environmental projects that cannot be implemented without big financial injections.

Its Breakthrough Energy Ventures division grants venture capital to new players in the area of green technology and includes other well-known business founders such as Mukesh Ambani, Jeff Bezos, and Masayoshi Son.

International Monitoring

World Bank downgraded its global economic growth forecast for 2022

The World Bank has downgraded its forecast for global economic growth, It now expects growth to slow down from 5.5% in 2021 to 4.1% in 2022, and 3.2% in 2023.

The relevant data is presented in the World Banks report on global economic prospects.

Following an obvious recovery in 2021, the global economy is beginning to enter a significant slowdown due to new COVID-19 strains and growing inflation, debts, and income inequality, which could challenge economic recovery in developing countries.

Global growth is expected to slow down noticeably as pent-up demand falls and fiscal and monetary support around the world ceases.

The slowdown will coincide with increasing irregularities in growth rates between developed economies and developing countries.

Growth in developed economies is expected to decline from 5% in 2021 to 3.8% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023, and such moderate rates will be sufficient to restore production and investment to pre-pandemic trends in these economies.

However, growth in developing economies is expected to dip from 6.3% in 2021 to 4.6% in 2022 and 4.4% in 2023.

By 2023, all countries with developed economies will resume their production to a full extent; however, the same in developing countries will remain at a rate of 4% below the pre-pandemic one.

For many vulnerable economies, the problem is even more significant: production in weak and conflict-affected economies will be 7.5% lower than its pre-pandemic rate, and production in small island nations will be even 8.5% lower.

The World Bank forecasts US GDP growth of 3.7% in 2022 this is 0.5 percentage points lower than in the past. In 2022, in China, growth is expected at 5.1% the forecast is cut by 0.3 percentage points.

Tax

Google Tax: Apple raises prices on App Store by 20%

Tech giant Apple is raising prices for applications in its App Store by 20% due to the enactment of the law on the taxation of electronic services of non-residents.

The rise in prices on the platform is expected in the middle of January. The company is, in effect, adding a mandatory payment of value added tax (20%) in line with revised tax legislation.

At the same time, the increase will not apply to subscriptions with an automatic update like, for example, Apple Music.

The so-called Google Tax Law obliges Internet giants operating in Ukraine to pay 20% VAT to the Ukrainian state budget. At the same time, the law waives the standard obliging Ukrainians to pay 20% VAT for the purchase of advertising from non-residents.

Though the new regulations came into force on 1 January 2022, eBay, Amazon, Meta, Google, and other technology companies announced an increase in the service cost back in December 2021.

M&A and Expansions

Microsoft to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for USD 70 billion

Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard, one of the largest gaming companies, for USD 68.7 billion the largest deal in Microsofts history.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will pay USD 95 per share of one of the largest game publishers. Activision Blizzard is known for such franchises as Call of Duty, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, and also such games as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.

Boosting Microsofts gaming collection with ever-popular Activision products will enable the company to expand its range for the Xbox console and improve competition with Sony PlayStation.

It should be noted that Activision has been cooperating with Xbox for quite a long time. The companys largest franchise, Call of Duty, owes its success namely to the online platform Xbox Live, which allows players to take part in multiplayer rounds (multiplayer). Most Activision games are made for the Xbox console.

This agreement will accelerate the development of Microsofts gaming business on mobile devices, PCs, consoles, and in the cloud, and will be a building block for the metaworld.

Big Ukrainian IT company to enter Latin American market

SoftServe, Ukraines largest IT company, is opening development centers in Mexico, Colombia, and Chile.

The company has already posted around 50 vacancies in the region. SoftServe also plans to start cooperation with a number of technical universities in Guadalajara, Bogota, Medellin, and Santiago in 2022.

The company plans to hire 3,000 employees in Latin America by the end of 2025.

About 500,000 IT professionals are currently employed on the markets of Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. The region also has certain geographical advantages, namely, proximity to the USA. Therefore, Latin America is attractive to most global technology market players.

SoftServe staff number over 12,000 employees, and the firm has 41 offices in 12 countries.

Its headquarters are in Lviv and Austin (Texas, USA).

SoftServe is one of the largest software development companies in Central and Eastern Europe, and is one of the largest IT service companies in Ukraine.

Infrastructure

Concession of Kherson Seaport completed

On 23 December 2021 the Ministry of Infrastructure, Sea Ports Authority, Risoil-Kherson, and Kherson Seaport signed deeds of concession of Kherson Commercial Seaport for 30 years.

The total amount of investment in the port is UAH 320 million. The concession holder plans to modernize and renovate equipment, introduce automation into warehouses, and install additional silos. To that end, an investment schedule has been approved and technical projects developed.

Kherson Port will be modernized, thereby significantly increasing its efficiency. At least UAH 216 million in investment in the port and at least UAH 18 million in the infrastructure of Kherson are set to be made in the next 3.5 years. In particular, there are plans to co-finance the replacement of roads leading to the port and the construction of a new facility for HGVs outside the city.

Capital investments will enable the unlocking of deve-lopment potential for inland waterway transportation, as the port is located on the Dnipro Delta. One of the terms of the concession agreement is to raise the share of cargo delivered to the port by inland waterway and railway transport to 80%.

Under the terms of the concession agreement, the concession holder undertakes the following obligations:

to pay an annual concession fee of at least UAH 12 million, including indexation and 7% of net income;

during the first three and a half years following the transition period, to invest at least UAH 216 million, and during the first 10 years at least an extra UAH 62 million;

by 2030, to ensure the volume of port cargo transshipment of at least 1.36 million tons;

to ensure continuous port operations;

to transfer all employees of the Kherson Seaport and some USPA employees, respective job termination is prohibited for 10 years;

to prevent the reduction of employees salaries during the first 3 years from the moment they are hired by the concession holder, and to increase payments pursuant to legislation;

to take measures related to environmental protection.

The indirect founders of Port of Kherson LLC are Risoil Group of Companies and Georgian Industrial Group. The concession agreement on the Kherson Commercial Sea Port was signed in June 2020.

Banking & Finance

World Bank granted Ukraine EUR 300 million loan

The World Banks Board of Executive Directors has approved a second loan of EUR 300 million to develop an economic recovery policy in Ukraine.

The funds will be used to support reforms crucial to the countrys economic recovery and growth, as well as to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This World Bank loan is intended to support key reforms: economy deregulation and strengthening the anti-corruption institutions; developing the land and credit markets, including facilitating access for small farmers to financing; strengthening the social protection system for the elderly to mitigate the consequences of COVID-19.

Bolt raised EUR 628 million in investment

The Bolt service announced the largest round of financing in its history the company raised EUR 628 million, raising its assessed valuation to EUR 7.4 billion.

The investment funds raised will be used to further scale up the companys existing products and accelerate the transition from personal cars to car-sharing services in cities, the company says.

The investment round worth EUR 628 million was topped by Sequoia Capital and Fidelity Management and Research Company with Whale Rock, Owl Rock (Blue Owl division), D1, G Squared, Tekne, Ghisallo, and others.

Bolt recently announced the introduction of a number of new safety features in its largest European electric scooter sharing network.

More than 100 million customers in 45 countries and more than 400 cities around Europe and Africa use Bolts products.

Gates Fund to invest USD 15 billion in green technologies

The Breakthrough Energy Catalyst Foundation, supported by billionaire Bill Gates, plans to invest up to USD 15 billion in green technology projects in the USA, EU, and the UK. The fund will invest in four key areas: direct air capture, green hydrogen, aviation fuel, and energy storage technologies.

The funds will be granted as charitable donations, investments in shares, and product acquisition agreements.

Breakthrough Energy Catalyst will invest in large environmental projects that cannot be implemented without big financial injections.

Its Breakthrough Energy Ventures division grants venture capital to new players in the area of green technology and includes other well-known business founders such as Mukesh Ambani, Jeff Bezos, and Masayoshi Son.

International Monitoring

World Bank downgraded its global economic growth forecast for 2022

The World Bank has downgraded its forecast for global economic growth, It now expects growth to slow down from 5.5% in 2021 to 4.1% in 2022, and 3.2% in 2023.

The relevant data is presented in the World Banks report on global economic prospects.

Following an obvious recovery in 2021, the global economy is beginning to enter a significant slowdown due to new COVID-19 strains and growing inflation, debts, and income inequality, which could challenge economic recovery in developing countries.

Global growth is expected to slow down noticeably as pent-up demand falls and fiscal and monetary support around the world ceases.

The slowdown will coincide with increasing irregularities in growth rates between developed economies and developing countries.

Growth in developed economies is expected to decline from 5% in 2021 to 3.8% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023, and such moderate rates will be sufficient to restore production and investment to pre-pandemic trends in these economies.

However, growth in developing economies is expected to dip from 6.3% in 2021 to 4.6% in 2022 and 4.4% in 2023.

By 2023, all countries with developed economies will resume their production to a full extent; however, the same in developing countries will remain at a rate of 4% below the pre-pandemic one.

For many vulnerable economies, the problem is even more significant: production in weak and conflict-affected economies will be 7.5% lower than its pre-pandemic rate, and production in small island nations will be even 8.5% lower.

The World Bank forecasts US GDP growth of 3.7% in 2022 this is 0.5 percentage points lower than in the past. In 2022, in China, growth is expected at 5.1% the forecast is cut by 0.3 percentage points.

Tax

Google Tax: Apple raises prices on App Store by 20%

Tech giant Apple is raising prices for applications in its App Store by 20% due to the enactment of the law on the taxation of electronic services of non-residents.

The rise in prices on the platform is expected in the middle of January. The company is, in effect, adding a mandatory payment of value added tax (20%) in line with revised tax legislation.

At the same time, the increase will not apply to subscriptions with an automatic update like, for example, Apple Music.

The so-called Google Tax Law obliges Internet giants operating in Ukraine to pay 20% VAT to the Ukrainian state budget. At the same time, the law waives the standard obliging Ukrainians to pay 20% VAT for the purchase of advertising from non-residents.

Though the new regulations came into force on 1 January 2022, eBay, Amazon, Meta, Google, and other technology companies announced an increase in the service cost back in December 2021.

M&A and Expansions

Microsoft to acquire gaming giant Activision Blizzard for USD 70 billion

Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard, one of the largest gaming companies, for USD 68.7 billion the largest deal in Microsofts history.

Under the agreement, Microsoft will pay USD 95 per share of one of the largest game publishers. Activision Blizzard is known for such franchises as Call of Duty, Diablo, and World of Warcraft, and also such games as Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm.

Boosting Microsofts gaming collection with ever-popular Activision products will enable the company to expand its range for the Xbox console and improve competition with Sony PlayStation.

It should be noted that Activision has been cooperating with Xbox for quite a long time. The companys largest franchise, Call of Duty, owes its success namely to the online platform Xbox Live, which allows players to take part in multiplayer rounds (multiplayer). Most Activision games are made for the Xbox console.

This agreement will accelerate the development of Microsofts gaming business on mobile devices, PCs, consoles, and in the cloud, and will be a building block for the metaworld.

Big Ukrainian IT company to enter Latin American market

SoftServe, Ukraines largest IT company, is opening development centers in Mexico, Colombia, and Chile.

The company has already posted around 50 vacancies in the region. SoftServe also plans to start cooperation with a number of technical universities in Guadalajara, Bogota, Medellin, and Santiago in 2022.

The company plans to hire 3,000 employees in Latin America by the end of 2025.

About 500,000 IT professionals are currently employed on the markets of Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. The region also has certain geographical advantages, namely, proximity to the USA. Therefore, Latin America is attractive to most global technology market players.

SoftServe staff number over 12,000 employees, and the firm has 41 offices in 12 countries.

Its headquarters are in Lviv and Austin (Texas, USA).

SoftServe is one of the largest software development companies in Central and Eastern Europe, and is one of the largest IT service companies in Ukraine.

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