EBRD provides $20 million loan to Ukraine’s ASTARTA

By Anton Usov

Ukraine’s leading agri- and sugar producer, ASTARTA, is receiving a $20 million loan under a new EBRD facility aimed at helping existing clients to weather the impact of the global economic crisis.

The credit will be used to re-finance a portion of ASTARTA’s short-term loans and to invest into energy efficiency improvements at its sugar plants and farms. The EBRD’s first project with ASTARTA was a $20 million energy efficiency loan agreed in May 2008.
In February this year the EBRD launched its Mid-Sized Corporate Support Facility, setting aside €250 million to provide funding of up to €20 million for around 25 existing corporate clients. The loan to ASTARTA is the first under the new facility.
Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for Agribusiness said, “Ukraine has been severely affected by a combined effect of credit tightening, currency depreciation and internal instability. It is our responsibility, as a development bank, to act promptly by helping our best clients to get through the financial and liquidity crisis”.

Viktor Ivanchyk, CEO of ASTARTA Holding N.V. “We value our long-term cooperation with the EBRD and its role in the development of our business. Having invested EBRD funding into energy savings at our sugar plants last year, we have already reduced natural gas consumption by 15 per cent. Additionally, together with the EBRD-EIB Multilateral Carbon Credit Fund we initiated the Joint Implementation Project that will generate carbon credits within the framework of the Kyoto protocol. The new facility will bring additional confidence and contribute to a consistency of our long-term growth”.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is the biggest financial investor in Ukraine. As of March 2009, it had committed over €4.4 billion through 173 projects. In the agribusiness sector alone, the EBRD has directly committed more than €5.0 billion in over 330 projects across Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1991.

Agri-industrial holding ASTARTA is the Ukraine's leading agri and sugar producer. It operates 6 sugar plants, as well as more than 166,000 ha of agricultural land. The production assets are located in Poltava, Vinnytsya, Kmelnytsky and Ternopil regions and the head office is located in Kyiv. In 2008 holding produced 235 thousand tonnes of sugar and became largest sugar producer in Ukraine.