The EBRD has invested USD 10 million for a 9.91 per cent stake in the share capital of ZAO Belaya Dacha Trading, the leading producer of fresh-cut, ready-to-eat packaged salads in Moscow and its surrounding region. The funding will be used to finance the construction of a processing plant in southern Russia.
The company, whose biggest customers are McDonalds, X5 Retail Group, Auchan and other major retail and fast-food chains, is pursuing a strategy of regional expansion that will stimulate local farmers to grow vegetables for the group. It will then process them nearer the consumer, thus providing fresher, higher quality products that will have a longer shelf-life.
The EBRD investment will help to complete the construction of a processing facility capable of handling up to 10,000 tonnes of vegetables a year in Tatarstan, in the territory of the Elabuga Special Economic Zone.
The plant will supply customers in Russia’s Volga and Ural Federal Districts. Another processing plant is due to be launched in St. Petersburg in 2014 to feed the north-west of Russia with the capacity to handle an additional 10,000 tonnes a year.
The group has in addition already invested in expanding its facilities in Moscow to meet growing demand for fresh-cut produce in the Russian capital. The new network of processing plants will allow the group to reach more distant clients while also creating demand for locally grown vegetables.
Belaya Dacha, started business in 1994 as a small workshop where staff manually cut lettuces. It specialises in producing fresh-cut, ready-to-eat packaged salads and vegetable mixes which are mainly sold through supermarket chains and supplied to hotels, restaurants and cafes.
“This transaction is a good example of how the EBRD can stimulate primary agricultural production in Russia through its investments in processing and other segments of the agribusiness sector,” said Gilles Mettetal, the EBRD’s Director of Agribusiness.
“We welcome the EBRD as our new partner, helping us to finance construction of new production facilities, which will allow us to improve our product offering to consumers all over the Russian Federation”, said Anton Semenov, the General Director of Belaya Dacha Trading.
In the agribusiness sector alone the EBRD has directly committed over EUR 6.4 billion in over 420 projects across central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1991. The relevant EBRD agribusiness figures for Russia in that same period are over 70 projects totalling EUR 1.9 billion.