Astarta, a Ukranian agri-industrial holding company, will boost energy efficiency at its sugar plants and beet farming operations thanks to a US$20 million EBRD loan to refinance and invest in energy efficiency improvements.
The EBRD approach
The project was the first under the EBRD Mid-Sized Corporate Support Facility introduced in February 2009 designed to help existing clients to weather the impact of the global economic crisis. The Bank set aside €250 million to provide funding of up to €20 million for around 25 existing corporate clients.
In spring 2008 the EBRD extended a US$ 20 million loan to agri-industrial holding Astarta.
The loan provided to finance Astarta’s plans to purchase and put into operation equipment to achieve higher energy efficiency at its sugar production plants as well as in sugar beet farming operations.
Sugar production is an energy intensive activity and the EBRD finance allowed Astarta to introduce significant improvements at each of its five sugar plants. This should result in considerable energy savings estimated at 20-30 per cent of the current energy consumption, mainly natural gas, per tonne of produced sugar. Productivity increases and cost reductions will bring the holding’s operating performance closer to EU standards.
Energy saving opportunities
In order to assess energy saving project opportunities, the EBRD commissioned an energy audit conducted within the Energy Audit Programme funded by the Central European Initiative. The study found potential for the reduction of Agri-industrial holding Astarta´s carbon emissions by 300,000 tonnes of CO2 by 2012. The company is currently discussing a potential sale of carbon credits under the Kyoto protocol with the EBRD-EIB Multilateral Carbon Credits Fund. This could become the first carbon credit transaction for the EBRD in the Ukrainian agribusiness sector.