Bank lends $40 million to Russian agribusiness group
31.05.2010 13:19 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) —
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it is providing $40 million to a leading Russian agribusiness group under two loans signed May 15 at the EBRDs annual general meeting in Zagreb.
The bank is advancing a seven-year loan of $15 million to Trans Agro, a wholly-owned Russian subsidiary of the Sodrugestvo group, to buy up to 500 railway wagons, as well as a three-year working capital loan of $25 million to Sodrugestvo Soya CJSC.
The Sodrugestvo group is a major supplier of protein meal to the Russian meat industry. It is also the largest importer, producer and distributor of soybeans and animal feed products in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
The EBRDs funding for this key provider to the Russian agro-food industry will have an important trickle-down effect, boosting oilseed production in Russias Kaliningrad region and helping local farmers gain access to export terminals, said Alain Pilloux, the EBRDs managing director for industry, commerce and agribusiness.
Apart from increasing transport capacity by buying more efficient wagons capable of carrying much heavier loads, the group is also planning to start sourcing locally up to 50,000 tonnes of rapeseed a year for processing at its recently opened crushing plant in Russias westernmost port, Kaliningrad.
In addition, the group intends to use its port facilities in Kaliningrad for the export of Russian agricultural products, which could include up to 150,000 tonnes of grain, 100,000 tonnes of sugar beet and 50,000 tonnes of rapeseed a year.
The railway wagons the group will purchase will be used to transport finished products such as soy meal to end-customers, as well as rapeseed for crushing and grains and sugar beet pulp for trading.
Underlining its commitment to environmental values and sustainability, the group plans to create a new seat on its board of directors to be reserved either for a representative of a leading environmental NGO or an expert in the field of environmental and sustainable agricultural production.
In the agribusiness sector alone, the EBRD has directly committed more than ─5.5 billion in over 380 projects across central and eastern Europe and the CIS since 1991.