IGOR MAZEPA

Founder, CEO

Concorde Capital Investment Conference 2019

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IGOR MAZEPA

CEO and Founder of Concorde Capital investment company

Igor Mazepa, CEO and founder of the Concorde Capital investment company, is among Ukraine’s leading financial experts with more than 20 years of expertise on the Ukrainian investment market.

Concorde Capital is Ukraine’s leading investment company offering a full spectrum of brokerage and investment banking services. In its 15 years on the market, the company has attracted more than USD 3 bln in investment for the leading Ukrainian companies.

BIO

Igor Mazepa was born on July 2, 1976 in Kyiv. He earned degrees from Kyiv National Economic University in international economics and law.

Mazepa’s career began in 1997 at Prospects Investments company. In 2000, he was appointed executive director of Foyil Securities New Europe, a company that traded securities. In 2002, he became managing director of MFK Investment Bank.

In 2004, Mazepa founded his own investment company, Concorde Capital, which he leads to this day.

Mazepa was among the founders of the Ukrainian Exchange securities exchange. Between 2008 and 2016, he served as head of the exchange’s board.

Between August 2014 and July 2016, Mazepa was a supervisory board member for Ukreximbank.

Between November 2016 and August 2018, Mazepa was a supervisory board member of Ukrsotsbank.

Since May 2019 Igor Mazepa is a Supervisory Board member of HeidelbergCement Ukraine.

Investment projects

Igor Mazepa is an investor in a series of projects:
  • the Dobrobut medical network which is Ukraine’s largest private chain of medical clinics
  • GoodLife Park, an elite residence in suburban Kyiv
  • Shelest, a recreation complex in Kyiv' suburban with hotel, restaurant and event venue.
  • Assets in the production of cement, concrete and other building materials (including the Kamenskiy Cement Factory, the Kryvorizhskiy Cement Factory and the Rubalskiy Quarry
  • A corrugated cardboard factory.

Hobbies

Mazepa travels a great deal, enjoying skiing, running, swimming, rowing and yachting. Mazepa also enjoys helicopter piloting.

Activeness in community and social projects

Since 2015, Mazepa has been the board chairman of the “Price of the State” organization, which explains to Ukrainians the issues of state economic policy, while at the same time promoting democratic and market changes in Ukraine.

Mazepa supports Ukraine’s national rowing team, as well as the DIUSSH Kiev sporting school that involves 100 youth.

Igor Mazepa’s comments



About the new National Bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko (July 2020)

I regard Kyrylo Shevchenko, the newly appointed NBU Governor, as a technocratic and quite independent executive. I hope his work at the National Bank of Ukraine will contribute the stability of the banking system.

About the resignation of NBU Governor Yakiv Smolii (July 2020)

Obviously, Yakiv Smolii had no other choice to draw attention to the risks posed to the institutional independence of the National Bank, but to make such a demarche. Yakiv Smolii's resignation should bring the government down to earth. The National Bank of Ukraine must be independent.

About the impact of the coronacrisis on the real estate market (June 2020)

Despite the fact that the real estate market has been affected the most, the demand for suburban real estate is growing through. I see this by assessing the demand for country houses in GoodLife Park (this elite residence in Vyshgorod Raion, Kyiv Oblast, is an investment project of Igor Mazepa). Both rental rates and the cost of real estate are on the rise in this segment. This tendency will continue into the future, because de-urbanization is on trend now. People are looking for comfortable houses with a well-developed community infrastructure.

About the situation around Marianske limestone deposit (June 2020)

A special subsoil use permit for Marianske limestone deposit should be issued only through an open and transparent auction.

About the financial sector as a driver of the coronacrisis turnaround (June 2020)

The financial sector entered the current crisis when it was as healthy as possible. There was no massive leverage, as financial experts call it. Considering the challenges of the coronavirus-triggered downturn and lessons learnt from previous crises, the banking system is handling the situation well so far: the banks have no problems with the liquidity or capital. I have optimistic assumptions that the financial sector can drive the turnaround.

About Denys Shmyhal's Cabinet (May 2020)

The new Government is not particularly good at the economic issues. Trying to hold out longer than their predecessors, they are looking for simple and short-term solutions that can please the President and Ukrainians. During a crisis, such a government can extinguish fires in a targeted manner, but it is unlikely to be capable of reviving the economy and paving the way for a long-term growth.

About the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the national economy (May 2020)

Now we are entering a recession gently, but we should expect a real crisis this autumn. I do not believe in a quick recovery of our economy: Ukraine has never come out of crises with a V-shape recovery. I suppose that recovery can begin in a few years. This means that 2021 will also be very difficult.

About the government's anti-crisis plan (May 2020)

It bitterly lacks support for business, which is suffering the most significant losses because of the coronavirus crisis. At the same time, it offers additional pensions, a sign of mere populism and incompetence. What I personally support is infrastructure projects: construction of roads, runways, bridges, etc. Such stories have a long-term multiplier effect on the economy. It is definitely better to spend money this way than on unemployment benefits.

About possible appointment of Mikhail Saakashvili as Vice Prime Minister for Reforms (April 2020)

What do investors and businesses expect from his appointment? Just the same: privatisation, pension, land, and medical reforms, as well as everything recommended by the IMF. It is time to act and make decisions, not to look at the popularity and approval ratings.

About the lockdown (March 2020)

The lockdown measures will not bring anything good to the Ukrainian economy. With the restrictions, the decline in business activity and GDP is about 30-35%. Small businesses and the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians can hold out not more than a month of the lockdown. Two weeks of the restrictive measures have already passed.

About ex-finance minister Oksana Markarova (March 2020)

Her main achievement was that she prevented crooks and grifters from squandering the national budget. Another achievement was the transition from annual to three-year budget planning.

About the Cabinet of Oleksiy Honcharuk (March 2020)

Honcharuk's Cabinet failed to achieve clear results, because it had almost no result-oriented practitioners. The majority of the ministers and their deputies used to work with presentations, which often have nothing to do with real life.

About the risks and opportunities of 2020 (January 2020)

Nobody knows whether a new global crisis will break out tomorrow. No one can really predict whether it will happen because of the trade wars between the United States and China, Brexit, a halt in the EU economic growth, or a political crisis in the United States. It may be even something else. However, if Ukraine continues its reforms, it has nothing to fear. We can not only become an island of stability in a world of great uncertainty, but also strengthen our economic position by taking advantage of tensions between major global players. I am sure we have a lot to offer to China, United States, the EU, and United Kingdom. And it is good that there is this looming global crisis: it does not allow us to relax and stop halfway through our changes.

About the privatization of Krasnolymanska Coal Company (December 2019)

Privatization of Krasnolymanska Coal Company is impossible with its current management and their relationship with the formal owner. At Concorde Capital, we urge the Cabinet of Ministers to replace the company's management with a more professional team willing to cooperate with the government. If there is no change of management, we can state that the current government, just like its predecessors, is ready to run a protection racket for the company and redistribute cash flows of the government-owned assets in their own interests.

About the 2019-2020 land market

The land market is both a huge opportunity and a big risk. The risk is if the government does not have enough willpower and courage to push the most liberal scenario by allowing the sale of land to foreigners. I do not see any risk in this. However, there are now discrepancies with what the authorities said in August and what they are saying now. Obviously, the authorities have started focusing on their popularity ratings, which is a bad signal I think.

About ways of attracting investors to the healthcare sector (November 2019)

We need to develop private medical services. It is definitely important to implement the medical reform fully. Ant it is equally important to be open to foreign investors.

Are Ukrainian assets of interest to foreign investors? (November 2019)

Ukraine is definitely on the radar of foreign investors for various reasons. What we hear now from the new government team is pretty good attempts. I admit that their messages often sound like slogans. However, the new government is taking fairly consistent steps from the point of view of liberalisation, including the law on concession, privatisation (cancellation of the list of companies previously prohibited for sale), opening of the land market, etc.

Do foreign investors monitor the situation with Privatbank? (November 2019)

Indeed, Privatbank is a litmus test for them. This is a tricky story for the government. Certainly, there were procedural violations in the nationalisation. At the same time, the nationalisation had upsides. Foreign investors are absolutely convinced that the bank should not be returned to its previous owners.

Three key issues that are important for the new parliament and government to resolve (June 2019)

1-The situation with Privatbank
If the bank is simply given to Ihor Kolomoisky, that will demonstrate the government’s bias. But if nothing is done, that can be interpreted as its closing its eyes to procedural mistakes and prejudices that were allowed in the process of nationalizing the bank.

2-The situation with reforms.
It’s necessary to implement an entire complex of reforms that includes privatization, a farmland market, pensions, and health care.

3-The situation with the IMF.
A clear plan is needed on cooperating with the IMF and international lenders.

Without what will investments not enter Ukraine? (July 2019)

Without trust in the country, the government and the financial market.

On the drivers of economic growth (June 2019)

I believe in demand. That modest growth that our economy is currently demonstrating is largely thanks to consumer demand

On the challenges for business (June 2019)

The main challenge for business today is access to capital at a reasonable price. Recently, a circle of Ukrainian businessmen has formed that has capital and invests it, but only in those spheres that are interesting and understandable to them. Unfortunately, there has been practically no access to banking capital in the country for the last four to five years. Banks either aren’t lending, or it’s very expensive.

On crisis and opportunity (June 2019)

Any crisis is not only difficult and sorrowful. A crisis is a positive starting point, after which it’s possible to start, develop and achieve new successes.

On privatization (June 2019)

Privatization is also an effective means to fight corruption and attract foreign investors.

Sectors that have high growth potential (June 2019)

Real estate will be among the first spheres to grow. This is an understandable sector for investors across the world. In choosing whether to invest in real estate or open a savings deposit, the deposit will offer 10% gains annually, while real estate can offer 15%. Real estate has its own risks, but they’re justified by the return of assets. The experience of neighboring eastern European countries shows that when they underwent difficult periods, real estate was one of the first spheres that pulled the country out and attracted investment.

About Ukraine’s place on the investment map (May 2019)

Going by Ukraine’s credit ratings, our closest “investment neighbors” are not leading Western countries, but the economies of the Third World. Angola, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan and Tanzania – these are countries with credit ratings slightly higher than Ukraine’s. Congo, Iraq and Lebanon have ratings comparable with Ukraine.
It’s these very positions of Ukraine that are the reason that the government, and private companies, can’t secure international financing.

On the challenges and risks for Ukraine (May 2019)

There is an entire series of risks, which awaits us in the nearest future. The main one is the labor market, which has undergone a massive trial. Millions of Ukrainian citizens are leaving Ukraine. As a result, the value of labor in Ukraine is rising faster than productivity, according to the estimates of Concorde Capital analysts. Not less of a significant risk is the debt burden. For the last three years, Ukraine has had to pay about USD 20 bln in debt to international creditors. And that won’t be possible without international support, without refinancing.

The main thing that the newly elected president can do improve the business climate is to not interfere with business (April 2019)

The main thing that the newly elected president can do for creating comfortable conditions for business and growth in investment is to not interfere with business. For the investment climate, it’s important for markets in the country to remain to open to new players and not monopolized. For the rules of the game to be the same for all, independent of the size of the business, the structure of ownership or the amount of the investment. In Ukraine, not only large investors should feel comfortable, but also small- and medium-sized businesspeople, who can and should become mass investors and the main driver of economic growth.

On reforms and investments (April 2019)

In essence, Ukraine conducted only two significant reforms of those planned in the last four years:
  • The first is reforming the banking sector. The National Bank has truly become independent. This is apparent from its monetary and credit policies, as well as restraint on inflation.
  • The second is introducing the institution of corporate governance at state companies. Finally, independent supervisory boards have emerged at the largest state companies (Naftogaz, Ukrzaliznytsia).
  • But many things have truly not occurred. Privatization hasn’t happened. True judicial reform hasn’t happened. Pension, healthcare and land reforms haven’t happened. That’s why new investors aren’t rushing to Ukraine. What needs to be changed in order for foreign investors to place their money in Ukrainian projects? Conducting an entire series of understandable, simple and obvious reforms.


On the risks of a new global economic crisis (February 2019)

The reasons for a new global economic crisis can become trade wars (including between China and the U.S.), prices for oil and a cooling of the E.U. economy. At the same time, no one can say for sure when the new financial crisis will arrive and whether it will have a global sweep.

On the land moratorium (December 2018)

Investors need a signal on real changes in Ukraine. The 2019 budget, balanced under IMF pressure, is not quite what was needed. It was a necessary measure. Yet the removal of the moratorium on farmland sale can entirely become the signal that will force investors to look at Ukraine in a new way. That’s why the moratorium on land is a moratorium on investment.

On martial law (November 2018)

I would say that half a billion dollars – this is the cost of martial law for the economy of Ukraine. It’s direct and indirect losses. And that’s not a small sum for our country whose economy earns little more than USD 100 bln annually. These are also losses for our budget, as well as for our country’s defense capability.

I suppose that possible withdrawing from investments or postponing them will affect our economy: at minimum, the cost of international borrowing for Ukraine has already grown. And our government will still need to pay back foreign debts next year.

On global trends and challenges for Ukraine (November 2018)

The main challenge today is that the value of money is growing, while the value of resources will fall, more than likely. For Ukraine, as an export-oriented country, this global trend means that there will be less money (fewer dollars from export earnings), we’ll have more debt and borrowing will become more expensive and complicated.

Therefore, whether we want it or not, the Ukrainian economy will have to depend on its own strengths in the nearest future.

On IMF cooperation (October 2018)

At the current moment, Ukraine has no alternative to cooperating with the IMF. Part of why cooperation is important is so that our country can pay off its debts and finance the budget deficit.

On reforms (October 2018)

Unfortunately, the most significant changes and reforms in Ukraine are occurring under the pressure of Western lenders. It’s important to understand that reforms in Ukraine aren’t needed for IMF or EU officials, but for Ukrainians themselves.

On natural gas price hikes by 23.5% (Оctober 2018)

When the government offers an effective, transparent, understandable and simply means of gaining compensation, the gas price hikes won’t in any way affect the budgets of Ukrainians. It will only lead to establishing fairness. A wealthy person should not receive a gas subsidy. He should pay the full price for gas.

On the investment climate (November 2018)

Foreign investors believe that Ukraine is still a country with enormous possibilities. As before, it also has high risks, unfortunately. There are large barriers to investors entering Ukraine. The markets are not competitive in Ukraine because they are dominated by strong state monopolies or the monopolies of certain oligarchs. So investors will come to Ukraine only with the presence of real reforms and when we won’t have risks as high as they are now.

About Concorde Consulting (a part of the Concorde Capital group of companies) becoming selected as investment adviser for preparing the privatization of the President Hotel (November 2018)

We are ready to create one of the first success stories in the history of the new privatization law. We are ready to openly inform society and the government about our work. We received a mandate of trust from the Cabinet of Ministers and now can more actively counteract attempts at sabotage from any groups of influence. We will give immediate publicity to any attempts to interfere with the fulfillment of our responsibilities.

On privatization (October 2018)

Ukraine fulfilled its privatization plan only three times in its history. Two of those times it sold the same enterprise, Kryvorizhstal in different periods. The third time was when it sold Ukrtelecom. All other times, regardless of state budget plans, there was a large lack of financing under the privatization article.

On medical reform (July 2018)

Medical reform in its current form won’t attract additional financial resources to Ukraine’s healthcare sector. Health insurance is needed in order to develop the healthcare sector and for changes to be realistically tangible.

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