flag Ukraine Ukraine: Investing

In this page: FDI in Figures | What to consider if you invest in Ukraine | Protection of Foreign Investment | Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment | Office Real Estate and Land Ownership | Investment Aid | Investment Opportunities | Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer | Finding Assistance For Further Information

 

FDI in Figures

On February 24th 2022, Russia initiated a military conflict on the Ukrainian territory, which profoundly upsets the current political and economic context in both countries and will have substantial ramifications on the investment climate. For the ongoing updates on the developments of Russia-Ukraine conflict please consult the dedicated pages on BBC News.

According to UNCTAD's World Investment Report 2021, FDI flows to Ukraine decreased by about USD 7 billion in 2020, turning into net disinvestment (- USD 868 million), because of the combined effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, macroeconomic problems and geopolitical tensions. FDI stocks in Ukraine had already declined as Russian investors had withdrawn much of their assets. The stock of FDI was about USD 49 billion in 2020. Reinvested earnings were particularly responsive to uncertainties in the economic environment. Mining, manufacturing, trade and financial services were some of the activities most hit by the recession. Food, beverage and tobacco production, and information and communication, by contrast, were among the few industries that avoided the decline. According to the National Bank of Ukraine data, FDI stock as of the end of September 2021 amounted to USD 65.4 billion. Notwithstanding the difficult economic environment, a project finance agreement has been signed with Chinese investors to develop the USD 1 billion, 800 MW onshore wind farm in Donetsk. In the manufacturing sector, the largest new foreign investment was in Kostal (Germany), a USD 170m project to produce automotive components. Generally, investments are made in manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, mining, financial services and real estate. The main investors in Ukraine are Cyprus, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and the UK. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 is expected to deeply and lastingly deteriorate business climate. Insecurity, political and economic uncertainty, supply chain disruptions and infrastructure destruction will likely lead to massive capital outflows.

In addition to political instability, investors pointed out before the war that the underlying inefficiency and corruption in the justice system were among the main obstacles to investment. Other serious obstacles are the complexity of laws and regulations, poor compliance with contracts and poor governance. Despite administrative difficulties, Ukraine remains an attractive investment destination for numerous reasons: the country has a large internal market, proven agricultural potential, energy and mineral resources and a strategic geographic location, making it a transit hub and a gateway to Europe and Eurasia. In addition, the current government appears to have been actively engaged in reforming the investment climate. In June 2018, a new law aimed at more transparency entered into force, and in 2021, new tax reductions, import customs duties exemptions, preferential land ownership rights, as well as measures to improve the rule of the law were introduced. A National Strategy to increase FDI, developed by EY, was also adopted. The country has progressed regularly and significantly on the investment climate indicators of the World Bank's Doing Business index. Ukraine ranks 64th (out of 190 economies) in the Doing Business 2020 report, gaining 7 places compared to the previous year. Progress has been made in obtaining building permits, connection to electricity, protection of minority investors and cross-border trade. To attract more FDI inflows, Ukraine has simplified and reduced the costs of the registration procedure for representative offices of foreign business entities.

 
Foreign Direct Investment 201920202021
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 6,017-366,549
FDI Stock (million USD) 54,21052,09162,131
Number of Greenfield Investments* 484577
Value of Greenfield Investments (million USD) 1,4212,2212,248

Source: UNCTAD, Latest available data.

Note: * Greenfield Investments are a form of Foreign Direct Investment where a parent company starts a new venture in a foreign country by constructing new operational facilities from the ground up.

 

FDI STOCKS BY COUNTRY AND INDUSTRY

Main Investing Countries 2020, in %
Cyprus 30.4
Netherlands 19.8
Switzerland 6.2
United Kingdom 6.0
Germany 4.7
Austria 3.3
Luxembourg 2.5
Main Invested Sectors 2020, in %
Manufacturing 22.9
Wholesale and retail trade, repair of vehicles 15.9
Mining and quarrying 9.7
Real estate 9.2
Financial and insurance activities 9.2
Energy 7.3

Source: National Bank of Ukraine - Latest available data.

 
Form of Company Preferred By Foreign Investors
Limited liability companies and joint stock companies.
Form of Establishment Preferred By Foreign Investors
A subsidiary is preferred by foreign investors as it is very advantageous.
Main Foreign Companies
For a list of foreign companies established in the Ukraine, consult the "Success Stories" section on the portal UkraineInvest.
Sources of Statistics
National Bank of Ukraine

Return to top

What to consider if you invest in Ukraine

Strong Points

The key assets of the Ukrainian economy in terms of FDI include:

  • Strategic geographical position, the country being located at the gates of Europe, Russia and Asia
  • Abundant natural resources (iron ore and manganese reserves) and a large agricultural industry (55% of arable land)
  • Strong international financial support from global institutions (IMF, World Bank, EU) and through bilateral agreements
  • Association and Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (2016) which gives Ukraine preferential market access
  • One of the largest markets in Europe with 43.5 million consumers and the emerging middle class
  • Skilled and inexpensive workforce
  • Good education system (large number of qualified specialists in the high-tech sector)
  • Low level of private debt
Weak Points

The weak points of the Ukrainian economy in terms of FDI include: 

  • High geopolitical risk and political instability severly aggravated by the escalation of the confict with Russia (large scale military invasion of Ukraine launched by Russia at the end of February 2022)  
  • A weakly diversified economy which is highly dependent on Russia (its main trading partner and natural gas supplier) with which it has been in conflict since the 2014 crisis in Crimea and Donbass regions)
  • Unstable economy, characterised by a high rate of inflation and exchange rate vulnerability
  • Weak legal framework and business environment (endemic corruption, monopolies, weak property rights, inefficient public services)
  • High public debt level (especially external debt)
  • Declining demographics, regional inequalities, high level of poverty and of the informal sector
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
In recent years, Ukraine has been trying to improve its business climate and attract foreign investors, as confirmed by the dozen laws passed by the government of President Zelenskyy in this regards, including several incentive programs (including a 5-year tax exemption for investments over USD 10 million in large-scale privatization projects, loans with reduced interest rates for SMEs, the collaboration of a government manager for investments over USD 100 million, higher depreciation rates for fixed assets, etc.).
UkraineInvest is the national investment promotion agency that works as a one-stop-shop for investors.

Return to top

Protection of Foreign Investment

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Ukraine
To see the list of investment treaties signed by Ukraine, consult UNCTAD's International Investment Agreements Navigator.
International Controversies Registered By UNCTAD
Refer to UNCTAD's Investment Dispute Settlement Navigator.
Organizations Offering Their Assistance in Case of Disagreement
ICCWBO , International Court of Arbitration, International Chamber of Commerce
ICSID , International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes
Member of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency
Ukraine is a signatory of the MIGA convention.
 
Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors Ukraine Eastern Europe & Central Asia United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 9.0 7.5 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 2.0 5.0 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 6.0 6.8 9.0 5.0

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action.

Return to top

Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
In general, foreign nationals can enjoy the same rights as Ukrainian citizens in terms of freemod of investing in the country.
Acquisition of Holdings
Foreign companies are restricted from owning agricultural land, producing bio-ethanol, and some publishing activities. In addition, Ukrainian law authorizes the government to set limits on foreign participation in state-owned companies. Furthermore, the gas transmission system, electricity grids, and various plants and factories are precluded by law from private ownership.
Obligation to Declare
Before registering their business, non-Ukrainian investors must register with the Office of Immigration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and obtain a taxpayer identification number through the State Fiscal Service.
Competent Organisation For the Declaration
Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
State Fiscal Service
Requests For Specific Authorisations
Ukraine is considering a mechanism for foreign investment review for security matters. According to UkraineInvest, foreign direct investments are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the Cabinet of Ministers if concerns arise, but there is no formal screening process in place at the moment.

Return to top

Office Real Estate and Land Ownership

Possible Temporary Solutions
Consult InstantOffice, CoWorker, Kiev International Realty.
The Possibility of Buying Land and Industrial and Commercial Buildings
Ukrainian laws impose almost no restrictions on the acquisition of real estate in the country by foreigners, nevertheless there is a moratorium on the sale of agricultural land that prevents them from acquiring it.
Risk of Expropriation
The risk of expropriation is still very present in the Ukraine. Ukrainian law provides for total compensation in case of expropriation, except for extreme emergency cases. On November 17, 2009 the Parliament adopted the law on transfer of land plots and property for public needs. The law gives clear definition of public need, defines procedures for such an expropriation, and provides a list of possible reasons. Furthermore, expropriation of property is permitted in certain criminal proceedings or in cases of failure to fulfil investment obligations during privatization procedures.

Return to top

Investment Aid

Forms of Aid
Investment incentives take the form of a 5-year tax exemption for investments over USD 10 million in large-scale privatization projects, loans with reduced interest rates for SMEs, the collaboration of a government manager for investments over USD 100 million, higher depreciation rates for fixed assets (property, plant, and equipment), exemptions from customs duties for any in-kind contribution imported into Ukraine for the company’s charter fund, etc.
For further information, refer to the official portal UkraineInvest.
Privileged Domains
Incentives are generally available for larger projects (USD 10 million in case of privatization projects, or for investments above USD 100 million).
Privileged Geographical Zones
Consult UkraineInvest's guide, including analytical data from various industries.
Free-trade zones
Ukraine does not maintain special or free economic zones. Consult the dedicated pages on UkraineInvest for a business overview of the country's regions.
Public aid and funding organisations
Invest in Ukraine

However, the Ukrainian government does not usually financing foreign direct investment projects, and the issuance of government guarantees are rare.

 
 

Return to top

Investment Opportunities

The Key Sectors of the National Economy
Energy sector, agriculture and agro-chemistry, consumer goods, technology.
High Potential Sectors
High technology, agro-chemistry, aerospace industry, alternative energy, tourism and hospitality, transport and logistics, IT service and software R&D.
For an overview of the most attractive sectors, consult the "Industries" section of UkraineInvest's portal.
Privatization Programmes
Although the government has launched a privatization program in 2019, listing 21 major public companies to be privatized (plus many smaller companies), so far the results have been inadequate, with no major privatization being concluded in the last three years.
In 2020, the government started the legislative process to permit partial privatization of some previously excluded public companies, including Naftogaz, MainGasPipelines of Ukraine, UkrTransGaz, UkrNafta, Ukrgasvydobuvannya, Ukrzaliznytsia (UZ) and UkrPoshta. In March 2021, Parliament passed the bill in its final reading.
In principle, nationals and foreign investors should enjoy equal rights when bidding in privatization programs; however, there have been complaints to this extent.
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
ProZorro, Official governmental procurement portal
Tenders Info, Tenders in Ukraine
DgMarket, Tenders Worldwide

Return to top

Sectors Where Investment Opportunities Are Fewer

Monopolistic Sectors

The Government of Ukraine operates 1,600 state-owned companies (with around 1,700 more being inactive), of which more than half are small and inefficient and rely on government subsidies to function as they wouldn’t be able to be in direct competition with private firms. These companies are not restricted to network industries with natural-monopoly segments (e.g., electricity, gas, water supply, and railways), and they operate in a wide range of manufacturing, agricultural, and financial services markets. Ukrainian law defines certain segments of the electricity, gas, and transportation sectors as natural monopolies, while the postal services, railways, alcohol production, and water distribution markets are all legal monopolies.

The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) is the Ukrainian state authority for protection of economic competition.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: November 2022