How Ukrainian companies face a crisis during the war

Vienna Ukrainian businesswoman Tetiana Abramova can still see something positive in the war. “Now there is an opportunity to move the business abroad,” says the owner of the small textile company Rito / 91 Lab. It is now known about them Ukraine and their products were developed.

Abramova, like many Ukrainians, seems to be immersed in entrepreneurship. Although the war sometimes hit Abramova’s business hard, damage to Kiev’s shops and factory near the capital was avoided. The Abramova company produces knitted dresses for women, and the businesswoman likes to call Italy a fashion country.

Smart clothing was no longer in demand when the Russian army on 24 February. launched a comprehensive offensive. Abramova switched production to an army of balaclavas. However, since the Russian army withdrew to the Donbass and the southeast, the joy of life in Kiev has gradually returned.

“The situation remains very difficult, but new and beautiful clothes are more in demand than in February,” says Abramova. Nevertheless, the company currently employs only about 40 people; before the Russian invasion of Kiev, there were twice as many. About ten percent of the workers fled abroad.

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While many companies are making ends meet, at least where there are no struggles, the Ukrainian economy as a whole is in a dramatic situation. The Vienna Institute for International Economic Comparison (WIIW) estimates that Ukraine will lose between a third and a half of its economic output this year. The budget deficit of 25 percent of gross domestic product is expected to be so high that the government will not be able to do without significant financial assistance from the West.

Tetiana Abramova (right) 2021 March

The Abramova company produces knitted dresses for women, and the businesswoman likes to call Italy a fashion country.

(Photo: Future Publishing / Getty Images)

The state needs about five billion euros a month to pay salaries, pensions and basic services. However, all of these calculations are more than approximate, as no one knows how long the war will last and what size it will acquire.

Employees are scattered across 14 countries

Theo Schnitfink, founder of IT outsourcing provider Symphony Solutions, also fears this uncertainty. Many customers said they wanted to support the Ukrainian economy, says the businessman. Overall, customers have remained loyal to Symphony Solutions to date; only one bank terminated the business relationship.

“However, the longer the war lasts, the more customers are likely to think the business relationship with the Ukrainian company is too risky,” Schnitfink fears. And attracting new ones is likely to get harder and harder. “Which company is looking for trouble?” The businessman asks.

Teo Schnitfink

“We need to restructure logistics,” says Pavlo Moroz, who is in charge of relations with the MHP government.

(Photo: Symphony Solutions / Youtube)

Symphony Solutions is based in Amsterdam: on the one hand, because Schnitfink himself is Dutch, and on the other, because the company, which founded the company in 2008, considered the risk of corruption in Ukraine to be too high. However, the largest division of the IT outsourcing company is in Lviv, western Ukraine. Schnifink employs about 250 people here. About 10 percent of the men serve in the military, and 50 women have fled abroad. They now operate in 14 countries. “Employees can work wherever they want,” says Schnifink. You found out during the pandemic.

Companies with production facilities, which also depend on complex logistics, are much more difficult in this respect than IT companies. These are, in particular, the large listed agricultural companies, of which there are several in Ukraine. One of the heavyweights is MHP, whose shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange. 2021 sales of poultry, cereals and sunflower oil led to …

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