Key Dates in Our History

1995

In 1995, the Group started operating as a trader and exporter of Ukrainian agricultural commodities, providing a marketing outlet, organising logistics and offering cargoes on a FOB basis.

From 1995 to 2000, the Group acquired several grain silos from the Ukrainian state to create storage capacity and support the Group’s procurement function.

2002

In 2002, Kernel expanded into a new area of business by acquiring a sunflower seed crushing plant located in Poltava, a town situated east of Kyiv and in the sunflower seed belt of Ukraine. With this acquisition, we diversified trading business to include the processing of agricultural commodities. Simultaneously, we began acquiring agricultural land, usually situated close to its silos, under long-term lease contracts for land, to enable us to source a small portion of raw materials from its own farms.

2004

In 2004, with growth firmly under way in Ukraine, Management of the Company decided to expand the business portfolio of the Group and move into domestic consumer markets and branded oil products. To this effect, we acquired the oil brand "Schedry Dar", together with crushing, refining and bottling facilities located in the eastern part of Ukraine.

2006

In 2006, the Group initiated a consolidation phase in the sunflower oil industry by acquiring assets from Evrotek, a major domestic competitor. Those assets included two processing facilities (one with refining and bottling capacity), inland silos with storage capacity of 356,000 tonnes and the bottled sunflower oil brand Stozhar. The acquisition established the Group as the dominant market player in the Kharkiv region, the region borders the Poltava region.

 

2007

In 2007, Kernel entered into a long-term license agreement with the company "Chumak", providing Kernel an exclusive right to produce and market bottled sunflower oil under the trademarks "Chumak Zolota" and "Chumak Domashnya". Following this agreement, Kernel became the No 1 producer and marketer of bottled sunflower oil in Ukraine with approximately 1/3 market share.

In November 2007, we completed initial public offering (“IPO”) on the Warsaw Stock Exchange. The IPO raised US$221 million, US$152 million of which was raised in the primary offering and used to finance the Group’s capital expenditure programme as well as new acquisitions.

2008

In 2008, Kernel acquired TBT, one of Ukraine’s largest grain terminal complexes for handling, transhipment and export of grain. This acquisition substantially strengthened the Group’s ability to originate and export grain from Ukraine. We also expanded farming activity by acquiring additional farms, managing in aggregate approximately 50,000 hectares, and bringing the total area to be harvested in 2008 to 78,000 hectares. The expansion of our farming business was partially financing through a secondary offering of new shares in early 2008, raising total gross proceeds of US$82 million. As a result of the acquisition of TBT, our grain exports grew from an average of 520 thousand tonnes per year from FY2005-FY2008 to 2.3 million tonnes in FY2009.

 

2009

In 2009, Kernel extended oilseed crushing capacity in Ukraine by concluding a tolling agreement for the crushing of 216,445 tons of sunflower seed per year at a modern crushing plant located in the port of Ilyichevsk, next to our Transbulkterminal.

2010

In 2010, Kernel consolidated further the crushing industry in Ukraine by acquiring the production assets of Allseeds, adding 565,000 tons of sunflower seed crushing capacity per year and terminals for the transshipment and export of sunflower oil and meal. Towards the end of 2010, with the commissioning of a new multi-seed crushing plant located in the north of the Mykolaiv region and a total crushing capacity exceeding 2 million tons of sunflower seed per year, Kernel became the undisputed leader of the crushing industry in Ukraine and the largest exporter of sunflower oil.

To finance partially through new equity its growth strategy and pipeline of acquisitions, the Company offered 4,300,000 new shares to investors in April 2010, raising total gross proceeds of PLN 241 million (USD 80 million).

2011

In 2011, Kernel increased its farming activity twofold by acquiring Ukrros, a company managing 90,000 hectares of prime farm land. In addition to the farming activity, Ukrros added 87,000 tons of inland storage capacity to the Group, as well as sugar factories with a total sugar production capacity of 250,000 tons per year. The crushing capacity of the Group was also increased by 270,000 tons of seed per year through the acquisition of the Black Sea Industries crushing plant in Ilyichevsk, bringing the overall crushing capacity of the Group to 2.6 million tons of sunflower seed per year. To finance this acquisition, together with other acquisitions contemplated by the Group, partially through new equity, Kernel offered 5,400,000 new shares in March, raising total gross proceeds of PLN 399 million (USD 140 million).

In August 2011, Kernel wrote a new page in the history of the Group and entered the Russian market by acquiring Russian Oils. This acquisition further increased the oilseed crushing capacity of the Group by 400,000 tons per year and widened the opportunities for successful development of the Group in the new geography.

In October 2011, Kernel acquired 100% stake in Enselco, a farming company managing 29,300 hectares. This new farm, equipped with the latest farming technology, expanded the Company`s operations in the Khmelnytsk region, rich for black soil and proper rainfall.

2012

In 2012, Kernel entered into a 50-50 joint venture with Renaisco BV, a subsidiary of Glencore International plc, to acquire a 100% interest in a 3 million tonne deep water grain export terminal in Taman port, Russia. One of the largest deep water grain export terminals on Russia’s Black Sea coast, it is strategically located in close proximity to southern Russia’s main grain producing region. We further increased crushing capacity by 500,000 tonnes of seed per year through completion of the acquisition of the Black Sea Industries crushing plant in Chornomorsk (formerly Illichivsk), adding a further 270,000 tonnes of crushing capacity and bringing our overall crushing capacity to 2.6 million tonnes of sunflower seed per year. Kernel financed this acquisition by raising US$140 million through a further secondary offering of new shares completed in March 2011. We further expanded farming operations by acquiring farmland in the Poltava and Khmelnytsk regions in Ukraine. From FY2010-FY2012, the Group had experienced slight slowing in its grain exports, with 2.2 million tonnes, 2.1 million tonnes and 1.8 million tonnes exported in FY2010, FY2011 and FY2012, respectively. Following the entry into the joint venture with Renaisco BV, which provided Kernel with additional throughput capacity and entry into the Russian grain export market, we increased grain exports to 3.0 million tonnes in FY2013, of which 112 thousand tonnes originated in Russia. In July 2012, the Group acquired Enselco, a farming company managing 29,300 hectares in the Khmelnytsk region of Ukraine.

2013

In 2012/13 marketing year, Kernel sales of sunflower oil to international market reached 1 million tons, with the Company supplying estimated 16% of the global international trade of sunflower oil. Meanwhile, grain exports reach 3 million tons in the same year, with Kernel steadily having in excess of 10% market share of grain exports from Ukraine.

In April 2013, Kernel concluded the deal to acquire Druzhba Nova, a leading farming company with highly concentrated land in the southern districts of the Chernihiv and Sumy regions and northern parts of the Poltava region. A sophisticated and well-equipped company, Druzhba Nova added high-performing and highly technological farming operations. Following the acquisition and several divestitures of non-core locations, our farming business reached 385,000 hectares.

In May and October 2013, following the strategic decision to exit highly volatile and local-currency exposed sugar business, Kernel divested two sugar plants in Ukraine which were acquired in the bundle with Ukrros farmland in 2011. The divestment allowed the Company to unlock USD 100 million, which were tied in the fixed assets and working capital of the sugar production.

2014

In 2014, the Group’s exports exceeded 4 million tonnes of grains for the first time. The Group commissioned a further 200,000 tonnes of greenfield silo storage capacity in different regions of Ukraine, bringing the total greenfield storage capacity commissioned in the previous 3 years to 650,000 tonnes. The Group divested the Nevinnomyssk crushing plant located in Russia, with crushing capacity of 100,000 tonnes per year.

 

2015

In 2015, implementing a strategy adopted in 2014, Kernel deleveraged its balance sheet and paid its first ever dividend (US$19.9 million) based on its FY2014 results.

2016

In 2016, the Group acquired, by way of enforcement over certain fixed assets, an oilseed crushing plant for US$96 million. Commissioned in 2012, the advanced facility has crushing capacity of 560,000 tonnes of sunflower seed per year and is located in the Kirovohrad region of Ukraine. The Group also divested its two remaining idle crushing facilities in southern Russia (the Ust-Labinsk and Georgievsk plants) with total capacity of 200,000 tonnes of sunflower seed per year. In addition, the Group divested its remaining Palmira sugar plant to complete its exit from this sector. The Group also sold its interest in the edible oil part of an oil transhipment terminal, contracted to dispose of Mykolaiv crushing plant, and entered into an option arrangement to dispose of the remaining dry cargo part at oil transhipment terminal.