July 04, 2016 | Cbonds
|The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is pledging more resources to improve the competitiveness and energy efficiency of Ukraine’s agribusiness corporates. |
With a senior loan of up to US$ 20 million, the Bank will be supporting energy efficiency and environmental improvements to two major sugar plants owned by the Astarta Group, one of the EBRD’s largest agribusiness partners in Ukraine. These improvements will lead to lower production and energy costs as well as an increase in their productivity and efficiency.
Astarta Group is a leading vertically-integrated agricultural holding which operates nine sugar processing plants across Ukraine and is responsible for a quarter of the country’s sugar production. Astarta Group will use the EBRD’s funding to launch the first stage of its long-term strategy, which will be aiming for compliance with the EU’s Best Available Techniques (BAT) for the food, drinks and milk industries, making it a benchmark for the industries in Ukraine and improving its overall competitiveness domestically and externally.
Implementing this investment programme will bring Astarta’s sugar factories close to the level of international competitors. It will focus on replacing ageing processing equipment with new, best-in-class machinery by leading European manufacturers. This will have a further positive effect on energy and water efficiency, sugar quality and mitigation of any negative environmental impacts.
Necessary technical assistance for the project has been provided by the EU Neighbourhood Investment Facility.
The investment is part of the company’s current financing programme to procure energy efficient equipment for its major sugar plants, acquire equipment for sugar quality improvement and finance a range of environment and health and safety measures.
The cooperation between Astarta and the EBRD has yielded impressive results over the years, including substantial gas and coal consumption savings for the Group, the first-ever carbon credit transaction in Ukraine and the construction of a new dairy farm and a biogas facility.
The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. As at end of June 2016, the Bank has a total cumulative commitment of almost €12 billion through 364 projects in the country.