Cheers to Kyrgyz beverage producer

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

The EBRD is supporting the modernisation and expansion of the Kyrgyz beverage producer Bear Beer with a €7 million loan, which will partially finance the purchase of new soft drink and beer brewing equipment. The funds are provided under the Bank’s Direct Lending Facility and complemented by Technical Cooperation funds for, among others, a technical review and an energy audit.

Bear Beer is a greenfield project to build and operate a new beverages plant in Shopokov, a town 20 km from Bishkek. Construction of the facility is in its final stages, and the EBRD loan will be used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment from a leading international manufacturer. An energy efficient and competitive production process is expected to strengthen the company’s market position.

The investment is driven by strong growth potential in the Kyrgyz market for good quality soft drinks and beers. According to official data, over the last three years production of bottled water and soft drinks in the country has increased by 13 per cent each year. The owners of Bear Beer – two companies and a private individual – are well-established market players with ambitious plans for expansion. Their goal is further supported by access to water of excellent quality.

Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director of Agribusiness, said: “This is a very important investment for us as we have defined supporting local private enterprises in the Kyrgyz Republic as one of our priorities. Local companies are vital for a balanced and sound development of the Kyrgyz economy. The project will have an important impact through skill transfers and the setting of standards for business conduct as well as health and safety regulations. It is also an area where the EBRD instruments for financial support and technical assistance have a significant impact.”

Aitmamat Nazarov, CEO of Bear Beer, added: “We are glad to cooperate with the EBRD. The new European equipment will enhance quality and upgrade our production process from its current level to one that is similar to processes used by European soft drink and beer producers. Bear Beer will be the only Kyrgyz company with a new glass bottling capacity in the country. This will further improve the quality of our soft drinks and implement HASP and ISO 22000 standards.”

The US$ 80 million EBRD Direct Lending Facility provides funds to local companies for project financing in Early Transition Countries such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

In the Kyrgyz Republic, the EBRD has invested almost €450 million in more than 90 projects with a special focus on promoting the private sector, the financial sector and the development of infrastructure.