Events in Ukraine in 2014 have considerably increased the interest of foreign investors in the country, although taking practical steps to invest funds is hindered by the continued instability in the country, Head and founder of Concorde Capital Ihor Mazepa has said.
"It's obvious that the interest in Ukraine is huge. But if in 2006-2007, this huge interest was accompanied by readiness to go and buy, invest and lend, the interest we see now slightly differs in its nature: there are many uncertainties in the country and especially in business," he told Interfax-Ukraine. He took the conference recently held in London by Concorde Capital, the first such event after the start of armed conflict in Donbas and the presidential election, as an example to confirm his words on the attractiveness of the Ukrainian market for investors. He said that the initial number of guests of 50-70 people has grown to 200. "The audience was rather refined - those whom we needed," he added. Mazepa said that two thirds or three fourths of talks held at the discussion that opened the conference were around Russia and its role in Ukraine's security. "The war topic and security topic are present in all discussion. The feeling is ambiguous: there is a lost of interest, but I absolutely don't have illusions that the interest will materialize tomorrow, in a month or even in six months, but something is happening," he said. Mazepa said that Western investors today show their interest to the state liabilities of Ukraine, in particular, VAT bonds, opening new limits. "It's likely that we'll bring good money of investors in this segment of the market," he added. He said that it is likely that the next step will be the issue of corporate bonds. "If soon the sovereign market will be lively and effective, the primary market of corporate bonds will appear. I think that this could happen by the end of the year," the head of Concorde Capital said. He said that access of corporate borrowers to international financial markets with new issues of eurobonds or CLNs is more of a prospect for the next year, as the present level of the sovereign rating is very low. Mazepa added that the new positive trend for investors was the large participation of business and established business leader since the events in Ukraine. "You cannot be a successful businessman in s country that is not successful itself, or even worse Б-? that is falling into pieces," he said. He said that after arrival of new people in power the risks of unpleasant surprises from the president, government or NBU have been reduced for investors. He said that the positive moment was a statement of a representative of Naftogaz Ukrainy at the conference that it is planned to conduct an internal IPO for Ukrgazvydobuvannia to develop the Ukrainian market. "Six months ago I could only dream of hearing an official saying such things, and this is a good sign," he said. He said that the decision of Concorde Capital to hold the conference in London in the conditions of such instability in the country was a risky one, but it gives a chance to be a leader in attracting foreign investors when the situation starts stabilizing. "We stick to Ukraine and believe in this marketБ-і It's likely that the market will be opened by the end of this year, and we want to be here and be a bridge between western investors and Ukrainian companies which need money," Mazepa said.