Ukraine to auction titanium and zirconium miner in August

UMCC is among the top 10 global miners of titanium and zirconium ores


KYIV- Ukraine plans to auction Europe's largest titanium and zirconium miner, United Mining and Chemical Company (UMCC), on Aug. 31, the head of its state property fund said on Tuesday.

If UMCC is sold, it will be the first successful privatisation auction of a large state-owned enterprise since a 2014 uprising led to pro-Western leadership in Ukraine.

In 2016, Ukraine failed to sell state fertiliser group Odessa Portside Plant (OPP) because of a lack of bids.

"The state is privatising a powerful enterprise ... The government has approved the terms of the privatisation," Dmytro Sennychenko wrote on Facebook.

He said that the starting price for 100% of UMCC had been set at 3.7 billion hryvnias (about $136 million).

The fund says UMCC is among the top 10 global miners of titanium and zirconium ores and its share of the global market was 2.3% for ilmenite, 6.2% for rutile and 1.4% for zircon in 2020.

UMCC provides raw materials which have a wide range of uses including steelmaking, glassmaking and traditional ceramics, with titanium also used as an important alloying agent.

"We hope for high competition and the market price ... at a transparent auction," Sennychenko said.

Ukraine aims to raise about 12 billion hryvnias by selling state assets in 2021 to partially finance the state budget deficit, which was approved at 5.5% of gross domestic product.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Editing by Alexander Smith) ((;))

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