EBRD supports expansion of Turkmen company Gul Zaman into bread making

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo


Events and management company plans to launch premium bakery

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is increasing its support for private small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Turkmenistan with a loan to a local event management and catering company.

Strengthening the private sector is the Bank’s priority in Turkmenistan and the US$ 850,000 loan provided to Gul Zaman will support the expansion of the company into a new business segment. Gul Zaman is currently Turkmenistan’s leading event organiser and caterer and employs about 170 people. It has an ambitious plan to expand its small pastry baking operation to an industrial-scale bakery which will produce bread, cakes and biscuits to high quality standards.

The EBRD funds will help Gul Zaman purchase the necessary equipment for expansion such as modern energy-efficient ovens and delivery vehicles, and also to open a new café and showroom in a central area of the country’s capital Ashgabat.

Grant funds from the European Union (EU) have financed a number of technical cooperation (TC) projects to help Gul Zaman achieve its expansion goals including a legal assessment and computerisation of accounting and warehouse operations.

Thanks to EU grants, the EBRD’s Advice for Agribusiness programme is providing Gul Zaman with technical support to launch their industrial-scale bakery operations.

In addition to the TC grants, the EU provided a first-loss cover guarantee for the loan, under the EU SME Finance Facility for Central Asia (IFCA), making the loan more affordable.

Engin Goksu, EBRD Head of Office in Turkmenistan, says: “We are extremely pleased to continue to support the Turkmen private sector by providing not only long term financing but also valuable technical expertise to further enhance local standards and increase competitiveness. Gul Zaman is a new client for the EBRD and it is pleasing for the Bank to help expand and diversify the company’s product range to include premium European-type breads along with high quality cakes and biscuits. The EBRD’s Advice for Agribusiness will assist Gul Zaman with top quality technical support to ensure the project is successfully implemented.”

To date, the EBRD has invested over €236 million in various projects in Turkmenistan, with a focus on private sector development and SMEs. 

The EBRD’s strategic plan for the countries where it invests for the period 2016-18, including Turkmenistan, has three priorities – strengthening economic resilience, addressing global challenges and supporting regional integration.