The EBRD is continuing to promote sustainable energy solutions in the agribusiness sector with a €10 million loan to Serbia’s Victoria Group, a leading agribusiness company in the country, to install two biomass-fired boilers at its oilseed crushing subsidiaries.
The use of agricultural waste and by-products to generate heat and electricity can deliver long-term sustainable benefits to the company and environment alike. The new biomass boilers will be installed at Sojaprotein soy processing company and Victoria Oil, an edible oil producer, both part of the Victoria Group. The boilers will produce energy that will flow back into companies’ oilseed crushing operations, thus substantially cutting their energy costs.
It is estimated that overall the project will help Victoria Group cut its consumption of fossil fuels by 20,000 tonnes per year, which will result in a substantial cost saving of €5.8 million. The new boilers will also help reduce the company’s carbon footprint by an estimated 58,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.
This project is the fourth to be signed under the EBRD’s Agribusiness Sustainable Investment Facility (ASIF), launched in early 2011. The €50 million facility aims to improve the energy efficiency, environmental and social performance of companies working in agribusiness, through direct loans for enterprises.
“This is an important project for Victoria Group that will help the company considerably improve its energy efficiency, cut costs and strengthen its competitiveness. In addition, similar to other projects financed under ASIF, the investment will bring important environmental improvements,” said Hildegard Gacek, EBRD Director for Serbia.
“This sustainable energy project will result not only in cost efficient facilities, but also in strengthening the security of the energy supply during the turbulent times of natural gas price volatility. Victoria Group has, through its logistic chain, a safe and efficient biomass collection methodology that secures raw material sufficient not just for these two facilities, but also to allow the company to pursue a more ambitious plan of expanding biomass use on a wider scale,” said Zoran Mitrovic, Victoria Group’s CEO.
Since the beginning of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has committed over €3 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, with a total value of some €6 billion.
In agribusiness alone, the EBRD has directly committed more than €7 billion in over 450 projects across central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States since 1991.