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Ferrexpo takes hit from invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian iron ore producer Ferrexpo reported sharply lower earnings and revenues in 2022 as the Russian invasion closed off access to export markets.
Ferrexpo takes hit from invasion of Ukraine Ferrexpo takes hit from invasion of Ukraine Ferrexpo takes hit from invasion of Ukraine Ferrexpo takes hit from invasion of Ukraine Ferrexpo takes hit from invasion of Ukraine

Ferrexpo, which is Europe's largest producer of high-grade iron ore, reported revenue of US$1.2 billion in 2022, down from US$2.5 billion the previous year.

Before the invasion, Ferrexpo primarily exported via ports in the Black Sea. With access to these ports cut off, the company has relied on rail export to central Europe, although these routes have also been constrained by the war.

As a result of the export restrictions, Ferrexpo has curtailed production and is currently operating with only two of its four pelletiser lines. The ion ore pellet production fell to 6.1Mt in 2022, down from 11.1Mt in 2021.

"Operationally, our assets have produced in line with accessible markets, with the closure of Ukraine's access to the Black Sea placing a significant impediment in our ability to access seaborne markets," Lucio Genovese, non-executive chair of Ferrexpo, said.

"We did, however, continue to deliver throughout the year to our European customers. This is testament to the long-term, sustainable relationships that we have built with our customer base," Genovese said.

"Looking to the future, we see positives in Ukraine's potential as a supplier of high grade, high-quality iron ore to the global steel industry, particularly in Europe, which is taking significant steps to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions footprint and embark on decarbonisation pathways."

Aside from the challenges of the Russian invasion, Ferrexpo is facing the investigation of its largest shareholder, Kostyantin Zhevago, over the disappearance of US$113 million in the collapse of the Finance & Credit Bank.

Zhevago, who has denied any wrongdoing, was arrested in France last year on an international warrant issued by the Ukrainian government. He was released on a €1 million bail in December.

Last week the Kyiv Economic Court confiscated stakes of 50.3% in the Poltava, Eristivskiy and Bilanivskiy mining plants in central Ukraine, which it said were indirectly owned by Zhevago through Ferrexpo, according to a statement, in order to secure the stakes as part of the Finance & Credit Bank compensation claim.