Ukrlandfarming owner in talks to sell stake

Kiev | Reuters — Ukrainian businessman Oleh Bakhmatyuk, the major shareholder in agricultural group Ukrlandfarming, is in talks with Chinese and Middle East investors about possibly selling a stake in the company, Interfax news agency said on Monday.

Ukrlandfarming’s main businesses are grain and sugar production, livestock farming, the distribution of agricultural products and the production of eggs and egg products. It owns London-listed egg producer Avangardco.

The flotation of 20 per cent of Avangardco on the London stock market in 2010 put Bakhmatyuk on a Forbes list of the world’s youngest billionaires.

But his businesses have struggled to turn a profit since the 2014 separatist uprising in Ukraine pushed the country into an economic slump and hit sales.

“I understand that to attract investors is the only way out,” he told Interfax. It did not say what size stake he might sell.

Avangardco, Europe’s largest producer of shell eggs and dry egg products, reported a $158 million loss for 2015, widening from a $26 million loss in 2014 (all figures US$).

In May this year, a Ukrainian court approved a request from the central bank to freeze real estate assets belonging to Bakhmatyuk in connection with the failure of a bank owned by him to repay loans of about $160 million.

Reporting for Reuters by Pavel Polityuk.

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