#15 Richest: Ivan Huta, 54

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Dec. 17, 2010 02:46
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$754 million
Married with two sons
Interests: agriculture
Everybody has dreams, but Ivan Huta owns one, literally.

It’s the name of his family-owned agri-business in Ukrainian – Mriya.

And according to the company’s recent Eurobond issue prospectus, its dream is to increase its land bank by almost three times to 650,000 hectares by 2013.

Founded in 1992 by Huta, which is still 80 percent family-owned with the remaining stake trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, Mriya cultivates sugar beets, wheat, rapeseed, potatoes and corn in four regions of western Ukraine, including Ternopil Oblast, where the company has its headquarters.

Global lenders like the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, and the International Finance Corporation, seem to like lending to Huta, given his company’s modest debt burden and position as a large player in the Ukrainian farming industry with a track record of profitable growth.

Mriya boasts high margins of more than 50 percent, benefiting from high-quality farmland and equipment, low labor and lease costs, and advanced crop cultivation and harvesting processes.

The company’s profitability exceeded 50 percent in 2007-2009. Mriya Agro Holding Public Limited (Cyprus), the holding company of Mriya agribusiness, saw $128 million in net profit in January-June 2010, which is 2.3 times up year-on-year.

It’s a dream that doesn’t seem likely to end soon.

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