EBRD deepens cooperation with Astarta

By Anton Usov

The EBRD is providing a US$60 million loan to major Ukrainian agribusiness group Astarta to support its expansion beyond its traditional markets of sugar production and agricultural commodities. The project is part of the Bank’s work towards reducing the cost of food by helping boost agricultural output and support high-performing agricultural companies in the region.

The EBRD has been a long term partner for Astarta and this is the Bank’s fourth transaction with the group since 2008. Astarta is planning to expand its dairy farm operations and also increasing he amount of agricultural land that it cultivates. The loan proceeds will also finance the acquisition of up-to-date agricultural machinery and so contribute to the general modernisation of the sugar industry and the whole agricultural sector in Ukraine.

The project will also facilitate better logistics through acquisitions of additional trucks and construction of modern sugar storage facilities.

With the help of the Bank, Astarta is introducing significant benchmarks in energy saving, productivity and health and safety standards as well as demonstrating the effective use of carbon credits in this key sector of the Ukrainian economy.

In the agribusiness sector alone, the EBRD has directly committed more than €6 billion in over 400 projects across central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1991.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of 30 June 2011, the Bank had committed over €6.5 billion ($9.3 billion) through 276 projects.