Ukraine’s largest poultry producer, MHP, has restarted exports, which were halted due to the Russian invasion, MHP CFO, Viktoria Kapelyushnaya, told Bloomberg News.
Before the war, MHP generated about 60% of its US$1.9 billion annual revenue from exports. That share dropped to almost zero as the conflict cut the company off from its usual seaborne shipment routes.
“We are considering exporting by railways, but it is difficult because of the differences in infrastructure between the Ukrainian railways and the European railways,” Kapelyushnaya said, adding that the company started poultry exports using trucks and in the nearest time expected to increase export volumes.
MHP is also ready to begin a large-scale sowing campaign, Kapelyushnaya said, adding that it may target as much as 95% of its land starting in April. To fund the campaign, MHP needs about US$160 million from March through June, it said recently. As of 21 March, the company had US$228 million in cash.
“The sowing campaign is concentrated in the centre and west of Ukraine, in areas that are relatively safer than the rest of the country,” Kapelyushnaya said. “With the products of the sowing campaign, we are expecting positive cashflow from September onwards.”
MHP has to deploy trucks and manpower to provide humanitarian aid to the territories besieged by Russian troops.
MHP is giving away as many as 330 tonnes of chicken every day to feed thousands of civilians in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mariupol under attack by Russian forces led by President Vladimir Putin, the company told Forbes.
John Rich, chairman of MHP, explained that thousands of drivers in Ukraine are embarking on suicide missions to bring vans full of chicken to people who’ve gone days without food. He added that many of the drivers are new employees who turned to MHP after the closing of other companies.
The company explained that a driver might drop off supplies on the outskirts of a town. Some areas are so dangerous that only the Red Cross can go beyond a certain point. In exchange for transporting chicken, MHP has provided fuel to the Red Cross and has also helped support busing women and children out of the most dangerous zones.