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EBRD supports development of domestic oilseed industry in Romania

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

The EBRD is supporting the diversification of Romanian agribusiness with a €30 million syndicated financing package to Expur S.A., a local oilseed processing company.

Expur crushes rapeseed and sunflower seed, produces crude rapeseed oil, refined edible sunflower oil, as well as rapeseed meal, sunflower meal and biodiesel, for both domestic and export markets.

EBRD financing will help support Expur’s strategy of contributing to the development of the rapeseed meal market and the cultivation of “high oleic” sunflower seed in Romania.  “High oleic” sunflower seeds produce sunflower oil with a higher content of monounsaturated oleic acid. This reduces saturated fats in cooking, making sunflower oil even healthier.

Rapeseed meal, a by-product of edible oil and biodiesel production, is a cost-effective and locally produced alternative to imported soy meal. It would help reduce the cost of animal feed to Romanian livestock producers. This would, in turn, make meat and dairy products cheaper for Romanian consumers.

The new facility to finance Expur's working capital requirements is in addition to existing EBRD financing, totalling €80 million. Half of the new €30 million loan will be for the EBRD’s account, and the remaining amount will be syndicated to Société Générale and Rabobank.

“The EBRD is proud to support the diversification of agribusiness in Romania. Private sector initiative and innovation will be crucial to unlocking the potential of the domestic market in oilseeds, which will benefit the entire food value chain, including suppliers, farmers and consumers," said Gilles Mettetal, EBRD's Director for Agribusiness.

"Since acquiring Expur in 2010, the Saipol Group has developed the processing of locally produced oilseeds, which benefits both Romanian economic development and trade within  the European and Mediterranean countries.  The support of the EBRD in this strategy is greatly appreciated," said Yves Delaine, Chief Executive Officer of Saipol.

Expur is owned by Saipol S.A.S., the French leader in oilseed crushing and vegetable oil refining. Saipol, which is part of Sofiprotéol’s Oilseed Division, processes rapeseed and sunflower seed into meal for animal feed and vegetable oil for human consumption, as well as for sustainable energy (biodiesel) and the chemicals industry.

Since the beginning of its operations in Romania, the EBRD has committed over €5 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, mobilising additional investment of almost €8.5 billion from other sources of financing. The new loan brings the EBRD's commitments to the Romanian agribusiness sector up to €470 million via 25 projects.

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