The EBRD and the Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank are joining forces to help Osko LLC, a leading Kyrgyz dried fruits producer, increase its sales by improving the packaging of its products. The EBRD is providing 50 per cent co-financing of the
US$ 500,000 loan alongside its partner bank, Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank, under the Medium-sized Co-financing Facility designed to meet the financing needs of successful medium-sized private companies in early transition countries.
Established in 1993, Osko is a leading Kyrgyz producer of dried fruits and compote, and bio kvas, two popular beverages in CIS countries. Osko exports 85 per cent of its output, 70 per cent of which is Russia-bound and 15 per cent sold in neighbouring Kazakhstan. The remaining 15 per cent is consumed locally.
The market is now driving the company to improve the quality of its packaging. The loan, co-funded by the EBRD, will be used to launch a new automated packaging line for Osko’s dried fruits. Attractive to consumers and able to keep food fresh and easy to consume, new packaging will boost sales of dried fruits which amount to 65 per cent of Osko’s total production.
“Russian customers are increasingly demanding,” said Kashveev Ahtyam, General Manager and one of Osko’s shareholders. “They are no longer buying food at farmers’ markets or traditional food stores but are looking for organic healthy products in attractive packaging on their supermarket shelves. Our dried fruits are what they need, but we need to make our products look more enticing.”
“While access to finance remains a top obstacle to doing business in the Kyrgyz Republic, the EBRD co-financed loan supports a successful local producer. With our help Osko will increase productivity and put out higher-quality products that can be competitive in demanding foreign markets,” says Larisa Manastirli, Head of the EBRD’s Bishkek Resident Office.
“Kyrgyz Investment and Credit Bank (KICB) is glad to cooperate with the EBRD; this is the first deal within the Medium-sized Co-financing Facility under a new Participation Agreement. KICB is looking forward to future productive cooperation and more co-financed projects in different sectors of the Kyrgyz economy,” says KICB Chief Credit Officer, Bakyt Kurmanbekov.
Thanks to this funding, the EBRD is also developing local agriculture and the whole agribusiness value chain. Osko uses high-quality organic products harvested from both a large network of local farmers and its own nine-hectare field of strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants.
“We are particularly encouraged by Osko’s energy-efficient vacuum-drying technology for processing its fruits. It raises business standards on the market and is a great example for others to follow,” added Jyldyz Galieva, Senior Banker at the EBRD’s Bishkek Resident Office.
The EBRD is committed to fostering the private sector in the Kyrgyz Republic and thus helps bolster economic diversification, expand external trade and generate new jobs.
Since the beginning of its operations in the Kyrgyz Republic, the EBRD has invested over US$ 538 million in 88 projects in the agribusiness, infrastructure, corporate, energy and financial sectors.