Ukraine's Group DF may be forced to sell Crimea-based additives plant

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Group DF Group DF leader Dmitry Firtash during a 2012 meeting in Armyansk,Crimea, the site of the company's titanium oxide plant.

Group DF, the industrial business of Ukrainian tycoon Dmitry Firtash, may be forced to sell off Eastern Europe’s biggest producer of titanium oxide, Crimea Titan, following the Russian annexation of Crimea. 

Crimea Titan, a supplier of the plastics industry intermediate chemical to customers across Europe, is one of two group companies isolated by the territory’s occupation. The TiOx producer has been unable to obtain vital feedstock supplies of ilmenite concentrate from companies across the new border with Ukraine.

Since the Russian takeover, Group DF has also had major difficulties trying to manage the Titan plant in Armyansk in northern Crimea, as well as soda ash producer Crimea Soda Plant, its other local business incorporated in Crimea.

“We are a Ukrainian group and that’s why we will certainly act according to Ukrainian laws. In any case, if we cannot manage these companies, we will be forced to sell them,” commented Group DF’s managing director Borys Krasnyanskiy.

Titanium oxide is used to produce white pigments for plastics. Crimea Titan says it exports 80 percent of its TiOx to more than 60 countries, with Russia as its biggest regional customer, buying 30 percent of its supply.

Krasnyanskiy admitted the group is experiencing problems in paying salaries to its Crimean employees. “As you know, the hryvnia (the Ukraine’s currency) is no longer in circulation. As a Ukrainian company registered as a legal entity in Kiev, Crimea Titan, for instance cannot make payments in Russian currency,” he explained.

In April, the local subsidiary, formerly registered in Armyansk, was re registered in the Ukraine capital Kiev because of the Russian occupation. Crimea Soda Plant kept its legal address in the Crimea.