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Slow farmer selling in Ukraine weighs on Kernel grain sales

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Ukrainian farmers are reluctant to sell grain, given the current price environment, Kernel Holdings said.

The Ukrainian agribusiness, which also operates in Russia, reported grain sales were down 6% year-on-year, to 1.32m tonnes in the last three months of 2015.

Kernal Holdings noted "the slow pace of farmer selling in Ukraine".

Shares in the company eased on the news.

Russian exports

In fact, the latest grain sales were an improvement, compared to the 24% year-on-year decline seen in the previous three-month period.

The company ascribed the relative strength in the last three months to "strong exports from Russia".

But the Ukranian Grain Association sees total exports ahead of last year's pace.

Since the start of the 2015-16 marketing year, as of January 14, Ukraine exported 22.48m tonnes of grain, up 15% on the year.

Logistical improvements at the company's Transbulkterminal facility in Ukraine help the company grow its grain terminal throughput to a record 1.7m tonnes.

Kernel also managed to boost the volumes of grains and oilseeds received at its inland silos, thanks to increased use by third-party farmers.

Crush rises

And Kernel's sunflower business saw a "strong season," thanks to high consumer demand and a bumper harvest.

Kernel's sunflower seed crush was up 31% year on year, as the company took on third-party-owned crushing capacity to deal with the ample crop.

The strength of the crush helped bulk sunflower sales grow 7% year-on-year, while bottled oil sales saw a seasonal boost from the holiday season.

'Big potential'

Art Capital maintained a hold rating on Kernel.

Despite noting "a certain hesitancy of farmers to sell their harvest for relatively low prices," the brokerage saw "big potential" for the grain segment.

"We expect trading activity to speed up in the second half of the marketing year on the both key markets of Kernel (Ukraine and Russia)," Art Capital said.

Kernel shares were down 0.9% in afternoon deals in Warsaw, at 42.80 zloty.


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