Ukrainian poultry producer hires top executive from Kraft Foods
Logush may prove crucial to MHP’s bold expansion projects
Ukraine’s largest poultry producer has hired George (Yuriy) Logush, a longtime top executive at Kraft Foods, as vice president.
In an Aug. 2 statement, London Stock Exchange-listed МНР said the American with Ukrainian roots has been appointed vice president in charge of improving marketing, brand recognition and sales.
Logush is one of the most experienced western top executives in Ukraine and is well known in the Kyiv business community. Prior to joining МНР, Logush worked as a vice president at Kraft Foods and CEO of its operations in Ukraine.
From 2002 through 2011 he was a board member at Kraft management for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He was area director for Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Mongolia (2005-2011) and managing director of Kraft Foods for Ukraine from 1995 through 2011.
Logush started Kraft’s business in Ukraine in 1995, building it from a $4 million net revenue company to more than $500 million as of today. In Ukraine, he was responsible for four plants and 3,500 employees, led several strategic acquisitions and established several production sites.
Logush’s vast experience in food and other businesses is expected to provide George (Yuriy) Logush a major boost to МНР, a leader in Ukraine’s promising food and agriculture sectors. The company currently has a 50 percent market share for industrially produced chicken but also has its eyes on lucrative meat exports.
In a note to investors, Kyiv-based investment bank Dragon Capital said the appointment will provide a boost in Ukraine and abroad to one of the top-performing Ukrainian companies on the London Stock Exchange.
"Mr. Logush brings with him significant experience working in the Ukrainian food industry and a wide range of contacts with foreign investors," Dragon said.
MHP’s Nasha Riaba brand of chicken is a best-seller in Ukraine. But the vertically integrated agribusiness also produces feed for its poultry factories through a vast farming business, sunflower oil, beef, sausages, cooked meats, foie gras and fruit.
MHP’s continued to grow aggressively this year, boosting chicken meat volume sales by 8 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2011. MHP’s second quarter poultry sales rose 14 percent year-on-year to 97,800 tons.
Dragon Capital expects the company to post 2011 net revenues of just over $1 billion, a 17 percent increase year-on-year, thanks to "increased sales of grain and meat processing products, and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $371 million ( up 14 percent), implying a margin of 33.7 percent (almost flat year-on-year)."
But there is more to the story of МНР, which is headed and majority owned by Yuriy Kosiuk, an up-and-coming food tycoon.
In prior interviews, Kosiuk has laid out bold expansion plans for МНР. He claims to have turned down offers to sell МНР to top poultry giants along the ranks of America’s Tyson and hopes, instead, to turn his company into one of the biggest meat producers worldwide, possibly one big enough in the future to buy out its competitors.
Last month, Kosiuk launched a fast-food chain in Ukraine specializing in chicken under the Krylo brand. The first of three Krylo restaurants envisioned for Kyiv in coming months is already operating. Plans foresee that the fast-food chicken chain will spread its wings throughout Ukraine and possibly abroad in coming years.