TOP 15 Corn Exporters in 2016/2017

2017 was marked by record export levels of agricultural products. According to the National Research Center “Institute of Agrarian Economics”, last year Ukraine exported 41,8 mln tons of grain to the world market with corn constituting almost 19,4 mln tons of the overall amount, i.e. almost 50%. In 2016, the corn exports were 17,4 mln tons.

Ukrainian corn exports in 2016/2017 constituted 68% of the total imports of the EU countries. In the world corn export ratings, Ukraine came third leaving Brazil behind. Last season, the key importer of Ukrainian corn was Egypt. The country raised the imports of the product by 56%.

In 2017, Ukrainian farmers reserved 3,47 mln ha or 14% of the country’s croplands for corn with the Poltava, Chernigiv and Cherkasy regions being in the lead. According to the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine, the last year’s corn yield reached 5,4 tons per hectare.

The first months of 2017/2018 showed low prices for the local corn and slow export rates. 4,45 mln tons of corn were sold on the global market in 2017 compared to 6,34 mln tons sold over the same period in 2016/2017. Preliminary estimates indicate a 10% decrease in corn profitability in 2017/2018 given a 46% decrease last season.

Major corn producers in Ukraine are in no hurry to extend the corn growing areas despite the increase in prices that reached an 18-month maximum. Severe weather conditions reduced the national corn harvest by 14% last year proving other crops more profitable. This year some Ukrainian corn producers plan to cut down corn cultivation even further.

As far as forecasts for 2018/2019 go, Rabobank (a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company) projects a price increase for corn given the tendency for diminishing corn world stock the second season in a row.

Based on the data gathered by our agents in the local ports, created a rating of the major corn exporters in 2016/2017.

Sophia Yaroshenko,

1. Kernel — 2192 thou. tons

For several years in a row, Kernel has been leading in the major Ukrainian corn trader ratings. 10% of the domestic crop exports are delivered by this holding. Only in 2016 the company exported 1773 thousand tons of corn.

Over the last marketing year, the company secured USD 319 mln of EBITDA and USD 176 mln of net profit. However, in the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year, its net profit has reduced to 22,8 mln USD which is 2,8 times less than it was for the same period last year. Kernel’s operating profit has declined by a factor of 2,4 to USD 24,8 mln and its EBITDA have reduced 36,5% to USD 46 mln. The holding blames unfavorable weather conditions for the decline in crop yields and subsequent EBITDA drop.

2. Louis Dreyfus Commodities Ukraine LTD — 2155 thou. tons

Louis Dreyfus Commodities Ukraine LTD is the major exporter of Ukrainian crop among foreign companies. Despite significant personnel changes, which occurred in the company in 2017, the overall dynamics of its operations is increasing. The subsidiary of the French grain trader enhanced its exports in 2017 nine times compared to 245 thousand tons it exported in 2016. Overall, the net profit of the company in the first half of 2017 was USD 160 mln which increased 16% compared to the figures of 2016 (USD 135 mln).

Earlier, Louis Dreyfus Group was reported to successfully close a blockchain based deal with Shandong Bohi Industry.

3. ADM — 1990 thou. tons

An American global food processing and commodities trading corporation Archer Daniels Midland Company was founded in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US in 1902. Its main sphere of business comprises trade in crops, oilseeds and mineral fertilizers. In Ukraine the company conducts crop trade and operates an oilseed crushing plant with the capacity of 200 thousand tons a year. The company owns eight elevators for grain storage and seven offices in different regions of Ukraine. According to the 2016 statistics, ADM Trading Ukraine exported 454 thousand tons of corn. 2017 saw a considerable rise in export but the net profit of the company in the third quarter of 2017 dropped 43,69% to USD 192 mln. The company’s nine-month net profit was USD 807 mln in 2017 compared to USD 855 mln for the same period last year.

It is yet to be seen if the company will take over another major grain market player Bunge.

4. NIBULON — 1925 thou. tons

In 2016 NIBULON exported 1 118 thousand tons of corn, in 2017 – 1 925 thousand tons and in January 2018 the company’s CEO Aleksei Vadaturskiy announced the plans to reach the export levels of 8 mln tons of corn over the marketing year. In 2016/2017 the company exported 4,65 mln tons of the product.

In 2017, the company’s fleet transported 2,3 mln tons of grain and oil crops. Its total volume of grain storage increased 8% to 1,945 mln tons last year.

The company cultivates 82 thousand hectares of land in Ukraine. Besides, NIBULON owns and operates the second biggest network of elevators and river freight terminals as well as a modern sea freight terminal. It exports agro products to more than 20 countries of the world.

5. Bunge — 1798 thou. tons

The Ukrainian subsidiary of Bunge Ltd has long been one of the leaders in corn exports. In 2017, they managed to sufficiently increase export levels; in 2016, the export levels amounted to 304 thousand tons of grain. In the third quarter of 2017, Bunge made 92 mln USD of net profit, which is USD 26 mln less than for the same period in 2016. In general, Bunge is not doing very well in Ukraine this year. Its Kiev office is constantly being accused of tax avoidance and tax schemes.

6. COFCO Agri Ukraine — 1616 thou. tons

COFCO Agri Ukraine is a subsidiary of the Chinese holding with expertise in grain procurement, trading, and processing. In 2017, its export levels increased compared to 513 thousand tons of grain exported in 2016. COFCO Agri Ukraine owns eight enterprises with their own elevators, an oil seed crushing plant and a grain terminal. Its parent company currently undergoes personnel changes following the merge of the two grain traders Nidera and Noble Group purchased by the company. As a result of the merge, 2.5 thousand people lost their jobs.

7. State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine — 996 thou. tons

2017 was a less successful year for State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine than 2016 when the company exported 1184 thousand tons of corn. The company’s management has announced plans for enhancing sales volumes by 10%. Over 2016/2017 the state corporation increased its production volumes by 3% to almost 160 thousand tons. The company has been working on its own brand for the variety of the corporation’s products.

In January, Irina Marchenko was appointed the new CEO of the corporation and promised a full reboot of the company’s operation strategies. The corporation intends to focus on: auditing the current company performance in order to correct business processes; enhancing efficiency and market shares in different market areas; and expanding sales.

Related story: State Food and Grain Corporation of Ukraine: Myths and Reality

8. Cargill — 948 thou. tons

The subsidiary of the global trader Cargill has been operating in Ukraine for more than 20 years. Over these years, the company has established several local offices and built an oilseed crushing plant and elevators. It also finalizes the building of its own grain terminal in the sea port Yuzhny.

In the last quarter of 2017, the company’s income reduced 6% due to the excess of grain on the global market, which limited trading options for the company. However, the company’s corn trade considerably improved: in 2016, the company sold 479 thousand tons of corn and in 2017 — 948 thousand tons.

9. UkrLandFarming — 922 thou. tons

The largest Ukrainian agroholding UkrLandFarming also improved its corn export figures compared to 2016 when the company exported 780 thousand tons of corn.

In 2017, the holding was named a socially responsible investor by Selskiy Revizor Project. An agricultural enterprise Rayz-Maksimko, which is part of the company, received that title at the award ceremony "The Village of the Year 2016".

Now, the company and an egg holding Avangard negotiate the terms of securities restructuring with owners of some of their Eurobonds.

10. Glencore — 901 thou. tons

Glencore has been trying to undo the solid grain trading quartet ABCD for many years. The company even unsuccessfully tried to buy Bunge. Glencore Agriculture Ukraine is an important player in domestic grain trading operating in 11 regions of the country. The company owns elevators, farming facilities, a sunflower seed oil crushing plant and deepwater port facilities. At the end of 2017, the company considered building five elevators in Dnepropetrovsk, Sumy and Odessa regions.

11. Black Sea Commodities Limited — 793 thou. tons

The company trades Ukrainian agricultural products. The list of exported goods is quite extensive: it includes not only grain, but also coffee, rice, vegetable oil, feed, spices, sugar, etc. The trader cooperates with a group of companies such as Prometey, Fumicom Ukraine etc.

12. Engelhart — 754 thou. tons

A global trader Engelhart Commodities Trading Partners is present in all major world commodity centers. It is headquartered in London. Founded in 2013, the company has spread the scope of its activities worldwide having opened offices in 18 countries over five years of operation. On average, ECTP produces, transports and sells about 15 mln tons of agricultural products per year. In Ukraine, the company is represented by Engelhart STP. The grain trader opened its Ukrainian office in August 2014.

13. Agroprosperis — 698 thou. tons

The main investor of the Agroprosperis group of companies has been operating in Ukraine since 2006. The company’s land bank amounts to 430 thousand hectares in 14 regions of the country. They own 12 elevators. The enterprises that are part of the company produce about 1,5 million tons of grain a year. The company uses the services of traders, but it also delivers grain and oilseeds directly to processors. Its main export regions are North Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and China.

14. CHS — 438 thou. tons

Since 2008, an American international company CHS has been operating on the territory of Ukraine. CHS Ukraine acts as a trader and grain buyer. It is noteworthy that the enterprise mainly cooperates with small and medium-sized farmers. Annually, the Ukrainian representative office exports about 1 mln tons of grain. The products are sold to the markets of Egypt, Morocco, Korea, Indonesia, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Spain, Israel, Italy, Algeria, Tunisia, China, Japan, etc.

15. Voest Alpine — 346 thou. tons

The company that concludes our rating is known in Ukraine as VA Intertrading Ukraine. It is a subsidiary of an Austrian holding VA Intertrading. The parent company works in various fields: logistics, pharmaceuticals, metallurgy and trading. VA has been engaged in the grain business of Ukraine for more than 15 years.

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