As war rages, Ukraine's Smart-Holding seeks foreign investors


By Anna Wlodarczak-semczuk

Smart-Holding, one of Ukraine's biggest industrial and investment groups, is suffering critical output losses amid the Russian invasion, its CEO says, but production continues and the company is looking for foreign investors.

Julia Kiryanova conceded that major commitments would probably only come when the war is over, but said her company - with interests ranging from steelmaking to agriculture - offered a platform for private investors with a long-term view.

"We are looking for investors in our gas business, in real estate business, in infrastructure, like industrial parks, metallurgy, agriculture, all these vital industries to Ukraine," she told Reuters on the sidelines of the Rebuild Ukraine conference in Warsaw.

Russia's year-long war in Ukraine has taken a huge toll on the country, driving millions from their homes. Recent strikes on energy facilities are also hitting industry, such as steel works. Smart-Holding has a stake in the country’s largest steel producer Metinvest.

"We're still running the production where we produce coal and then our steel mill facilities are running," Kiryanova said.

"We decreased our production around 70% and the rest of the group, which is gas production ... food, real estate, it has dropped also around 50%. So the losses are critical."

For the gas industry, regaining the eastern part of the country where heavy fighting with russia is concentrated is key.

"We definitely need to free up this territory to be able to further develop the gas extraction business," Kiryanova said.

"For private investors, we are a good platform to enter the country and further drill and develop the assets. I think Ukraine could be fully independent on gas supplies and also we could even extract gas to export to the EU."