UKRAINE – American multinational food and beverage corporation, PepsiCo, and a Ukrainian group of companies specializing in tomato production, Agrofusion, are reportedly resuming production operations in the Mykolaiv region, Ukraine, according to Ukrinform.

Mykolaiv Regional Military Administration Head Vitalii Kim during a nationwide telethon said: “Businesses have suffered a lot from Russian attacks in the Mykolaiv region. Many need time and money to come back. However, two companies, PepsiCo and Agrofusion, are already resuming production. Hence, people will receive jobs, and the budget–revenues.”

Agrofusion started small in 2005, according to European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) but grew steadily over the years to become Ukraine’s leading producer of tomato paste, with exports to Europe, Asia, and Africa.

 It was also the third-largest producer of tomatoes in Europe, with clients such as Nestle, Heinz, PepsiCo, Unilever, Orkla, Develey, and Coca-Cola.

Recently, Andy Hunder, president of the Kyiv-based American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine announced that “Ukraine is open for business, and western companies, should be looking to be part of the biggest recovery of a nation in Europe since World War II.”

He also highlighted Nestlé’s recent announcement of a US$42.8 million investment in a new production site in Ukraine’s Volyn region. The investment will expand the Swiss food giant’s production of vermicelli and other food products in Ukraine.

In December, Hunder tweeted that McDonald’s had reopened in Bucha, a city near Kyiv that was a key battleground in Russia’s failed attempt to capture the capital.

Some 70% of the chamber’s members are operating fully, according to Hunder, and 88% are paying salaries in full. However, 19% have had at least one employee killed in the last 12 months, and 31% have incurred damage to factories and other property.

The 600-plus members of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine include Boeing Co. BA, Cisco Systems Inc. CSCO, Citigroup Inc. C, Coca-Cola Co. KO, and Delta Air Lines Inc. DAL, Alphabet Inc.’s GOOG GOOGL Google, International Business Machines Corp. IBM, Lockheed Martin Corp. LMT, McDonald’s Corp. MCD, Microsoft Corp. MSFT, Oracle Corp. ORCL, PepsiCo Inc. PEP, and Pfizer Inc. PFE.

An example of the chamber’s member that suffered damages is the Mondelez International factory in Trostyanets that produced Oreo cookies.

Trostyanets, a city in northeastern Ukraine about 30 miles from the Russian border, was the scene of fierce fighting at the start of the war before being retaken by Ukrainian forces.

“We’ve invested to restart both our potato-chip factory in Vyshhorod and our chocolate factory in Trostyanets, with strong safety measures and enhanced security protocols in place,” a spokesperson for Mondelez said.

Hunder acknowledged the reality of doing business in Ukraine, such as dealing with power cuts and air raids noting that “when we’re in our office, we have to go down to the underground car park and wait until the air-raid sirens are off.”

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