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From retailers to latifundists: the owners of Epicenter K buy up agricultural assets

What is the purpose of the owners of the largest Ukrainian networks of construction hypermarkets Epicenter K and New Line of the wife of Gerega actively invest in the agricultural sector and related businesses.

Becoming de facto monopolists in its segment, Alexander and Galina Gerega turn their attention to other areas of business. Among their assets are a number of manufacturing and construction companies (for example, the Carpathian Pottery, the Osmolod TsSM, the Volyn-Development Technical Training Center, the Kalinovka Logistics Center and others), and even the bases and restaurants (Intertourism and Lisova Pisnia). He also owns shares in at least four offshore companies. However, the last months show that the main attention was paid to the agrarian sector by the owners of Epicenter.

Now, according to Pyotr Mikhailishin, general director of Epicenter, the company manages a land bank of about 110,000 hectares located in five regions: Cherkassy, ​​Ternopil, Khmelnitsky, Rivne and Kiev. Epicenter also owns five elevators, where it is possible to store 360,000 tons of grain at the same time, builds two more elevators in Vinnytsia region with a total capacity of 220,000 tons, and expands two more. Among other things, 16 farms have moved into the ownership of the group, including 8 pig farms, which contain 6000 pigs and 2500 head of cattle.

Anew, in more than 2015, in 2015. Until the end of 2015, the total amount of the bank’s land bank was able to grow to 445 hectares.

“The first sign”, which marked the serious interest of businessmen in this sphere, was the purchase of the Vinnytsia agrarian and industrial group: 50,000 hectares of land and four elevators were transferred to the company of Gereg. The deal was closed in mid-2016, and immediately Epicenter attracted the attention of the controlling bodies. The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) for UAH 170,000 fined the company for the purchase of 80% of the shares of the Vinnytsia agro-industrial group without agreement with the AMCU.

The next significant purchase is the acquisition of shares in ten agro-enterprises of the Swiss trader Glencore in July 2017. This time the deal was previously agreed with the AMCU. Without delaying the cases, in November of the same year Epicenter acquired a part of the land bank of Obolon Agro, the official president and owner of Obolon PJSC Alexander Slobodyan.

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