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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Corporate Raiding — Ukrainian Style

White knights. Shark repellents. Poison pills. Green mail. Forget all that Wall Street crap! In the world of Ukrainian hostile takeovers, things work physically.

Narrator: Gunfire in broad daylight, in downtown Kyiv. This is not a civil defense drill. This is a classic culmination of a raider attack. After several years of litigation, a new boss enters the company premises, accompanied by some 150 athletically built young men.

Female employee: He hired them, a total of 144 people, as security guards. We asked him a question: And who will pay them and whom will they protect? That’s the answer we got.

Male employee: They started throwing firecrackers. Then bricks started flying over there. Then he started shooting — some kind of gun — shooting from here, from there. The fires flied all the way up to here and everywhere.

Narrator: The new boss, whom the employees rejected, has been hospitalized with a concussion. Two employees have been injured. The war for property continues — all over Ukraine. And the raiders’ main weapon is court decisions.

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Anonymous said...

This was from yesterday's tv broadcast, I presume?

High finance works a bit differently - rumor that Renaissance Capital would sell 31 mil shares sent Ferrexpo shares down. No such sale happened, as of yet (to my knowledge). In the west not a gun or bodyguard but just a simply rumour. And the shares have regained a bit.

Wonder what will happen when this style of management meets UA style of management, once UA firms go IPO and intl.


Daniel (Srebrenica Genocide Blog) said...

People are not happy without money. They need to eat and feed their families. They need to secure a roof over their head. That's why they are angry.

Anonymous said...

Лауреат Нобелівської премії миру доктор Мухаммед Юнус представив в Україні свою концепцію «соціального бізнесу»

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammed Yunus presented in Ukraine his concept "social business" (microfinance)

In a country where a small loan can make a difference and help someone make the leap into a start up, could see this succeeding, and the loaner would also benefit in that the loans are charged at high rates (though loans are already high in Ukraine) but the new business owner also needs to be free from 'loansharking','protection rackets', 'corporate raiding' and be able to defend their rights in court. (Grameen Bank for ex. has made loads of money on microfinance.)

Unfortunately the story does not report who made arrangements for Mr. Yunus to make the presentation (?)


Hans said...

Wow... yeah...

Speaking of raiders and court decisions:
(sorry for the self-plug, but the english coverage on it is very shallow)

Another story that leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth:

Taras said...

Daniel, that’s exactly why these people stood up. They were defending their basic rights.

In the heyday of the privatization era, the most common takeover blueprint was for the boss to drive the company bankrupt and then privatize it for a nickel or a dime.

I don’t know the particulars of this situation, but I’m sure that if these employees felt comfortable with the new boss’s business plan, they wouldn’t have protested.

Luida, this scene relates to Elektroprylad, not Dniproenergo.

Good point about the IPO invasion, though! It’s about time Wall Street and the City started preparing themselves for the challenges of non-Western corporate raiding.

Stop feigning unfamiliarity with the hosting party:)! It’s a well known travel agency:)

Well, microfinance sounds cool. We already have Microcredit Bank in Ukraine. Let’s see if Grameen makes things better.

In the meantime, I believe that setting up an ₤80 m microfinance fund would have created even more favorable publicity.

Taras said...

Thank you for covering the Dniproenergo story, Hans! In Ukraine, lots of important stories lack accurate and insightful English-language coverage.

Well, Yushchenko does that everywhere he goes, and now that the Qaddafi regime no longer seems to support terrorism, it’s all about trade.

All things being equal, Ukraine needs Lybian energy supplies, and Lybia needs Ukrainian aircraft and food supplies. That would explain Yushchenko’s lavishing accolades on Qaddafi.

hans said...

Speaking of Libyan cooperation...

Ukraine, Libya may build oil refinery – Yushchenko

13.04.2008, 22.48

KIEV, April 13 (Itar-Tass) -- Ukraine and Libya are considering the construction of an oil refinery in Ukraine, President Viktor Yushchenko said on Sunday.

In his words, Libyan leader Muammar Abu Minyar al-Qadhafi will visit Kiev this year to coordinate the issue.

“Neftegaz Ukrainy plans to take part in oil production in Libya. Negotiations on the delivery of Libyan oil to Ukraine are underway,” he said.

Ukraine may sell grain to Libya, Yushchenko added.

He visited Tripoli and had negotiations with al-Qadhafi on April 7-8.

Ukrainian refineries are running at maybe 40% capacity now, yet still they talk about building a new refinery, whether with Libya or at Brody for Caspian oil...

No matter how politically unpopular it is, it'd be much more economic (and realistic) to upgrade an existing refinery to create cleaner products using Russian crude.

Taras said...

Thanks for the follow-up, Hans!

It goes to show that, after a series of setbacks, Ukraine and Lybia may be coming to a new crescendo in their trade relations.

Even though I’m no longer a huge fan of Yushchenko, I do support his energy diversification efforts, if made practical. No Western country can afford the energy addiction Ukraine has suffered from in its single-supplier portfolio.

Our discussion would be incomplete without mention of America’s reliance on oil supplies from undemocratic Saudi Arabia, which has long spawned debate both on human rights and economic grounds.

But America’s predicament pales by comparison if we examine Ukraine’s reliance on undemocratic Russia. Our energy equation looks far more precarious than that of the Gazprom-friendly EU; the Gazprom-unfriendly US, too, would never allow to have its economy choke on an imports pie chart that consists of only one country.

The full price tag for Russian energy supplies can only be assessed if we factor in today’s geopolitical costs. It’s what the Kremlin charges us behind the counter using its local “sales force” that creeps me out.

I don’t want 95 percent of our energy imports coming from a country that routinely threatens to either nuke us or partition us.

Ukraine should come of age in free trade by aggressively pursuing new markets, and if Qaddafi continues being a good boy, Lybia can be one of them.