The Ukrainian stock market ended lower last week amid the unsurprising news that the long-prepared privatization of electricity generation company CentrEnergo failed to take place as scheduled on Dec 13. This marks the 7th consecutive year that the government has failed to sell the giant state enterprise. This would have been the biggest privatization auction of the year, with the government offering a 78% stake in the company with a starting price of UAH 5.98bn (USD 215mn). The auction became controversial after it emerged that the most likely winner was going to be Kyiv-based UkrDonInvest, which is controlled by Vitaliy Kropachev, a businessman connected to President Poroshenko’s entourage. The State Property Fund cancelled the auction after throwing out two bids, including UkrDonInvest’s bid, because of insider ties. It was reported earlier that 5 bidders had expressed interest in the auction but none of them were qualified.
In trading on the Kyiv-based PFTS exchange, the CEEN stock plunged by 15% to UAH 14.15 after the auction was cancelled. As a result, the PFTS index fell 2.0% for the week and the UX index (still calculated despite the ongoing suspension of UX trading) dropped by 2.6% to close at 1746 points. UkrNafta (UNAF) was a bright spot, adding 3.9% to UAH 130 per share after the company reported the successful extension of 23 of its production licenses. Low-liquidity TurboAtom (TATM) declined by 1.5% to UAH 13.30.
In London, Ferrexpo (FXPO) inched down by 0.3% to GBp 187, and Regal Petroleum (RPT) remained above the GBp 50 level, edging up 2.9% to GBp 54.00. In Warsaw trading, Kernel (KER) slid 4.9% to close at PLN 50.30. Sugar refiner Astarta (AST) gained 1.1% to PLN 26.80 last week, but the company’s market capitalization is still down by almost half since the start of the year.
On the currency front, the hryvnia inched down by 0.5% against the dollar to close at 27.93 UAH/USD on Friday (Dec 13). The National Bank’s decision to keep its key policy rate on hold at 18.00% had no impact on the market.
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