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EBRD supports grain industry development in Russia and Ukraine

By Anton Usov

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is continuing to invest in improvements in grain handling and transportation infrastructure in Russia and Ukraine, with the aim of increasing export capacity in these countries.

In the EBRD’s latest investment in this sector the Bank will make available funds for capital increases of Louis Dreyfus Commodities Silos, which operates in the Stavropol, Voronezh and Volgograd oblasts of Russia. The Bank is taking an additional equity stake worth up to US$ 30.5 million.

Louis Dreyfus Commodities is one of the world’s global leaders in agribusiness and a long-standing partner of the Bank in the region since 2000. Earlier in 2013 the EBRD provided a US$ 75 million working capital facility for the company’s subsidiaries in Ukraine and Russia – Louis Dreyfus Ukraine Ltd and Louis Dreyfus Vostok LLC.

These financing programmes signed between the EBRD and Louis Dreyfus Commodities in 2013 will enable the development of on-going export activities, upgrades and expansion of the company’s existing silos in Ukraine and Russia, and the acquisition and construction of new silos in Ukraine. The EBRD will also finance the improvement and expansion of logistics operations in Ukraine and Russia, where Louis Dreyfus Commodities operates a total of 18 grain silos which support the company’s merchandising activities, primarily in grains and oilseeds.

The EBRD’s Director for Agribusiness, Gilles Mettetal said: “The food security issue is high on the agenda of the Bank. In this respect the successful development of the agricultural sector in Ukraine and Russia, which are major grain suppliers worldwide, has not only regional but global importance. The Bank is happy to support the expansion of the operations of Louis Dreyfus Commodities, which is strongly engaged in the region and which views it as a vital hub for its grain-related activity.”

The project is also part of the EBRD’s broader Private Sector Food Security Initiative, which is aimed at addressing a number of fundamental problems in the agricultural sector, including inadequate logistics infrastructure and a lack of financing and know-how transfer, which prevent countries like Ukraine and Russia from achieving their full potential. The initiative has successfully brought together representatives of the private sector and relevant authorities, with the aim of breaking down barriers to investment.

The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of 1 September 2013 the Bank had committed more than €8.6 billion (US$ 11.6 billion), through 327 projects, in Ukraine.

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