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EBRD supports Moroccan juice producer

By Nibal Zgheib

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €3.6 million mezzanine loan to Moroccan juice producer Citruma. The EBRD loan is part of a €5.5 million investment programme to fund the expansion of Citruma and secure additional working capital financing to support its growth.

Using its agricultural, industrial, and marketing expertise, a consortium led by Groupe Delassus launched Citruma in 2006, following the acquisition of a Kenitra-based juice factory and the popular “Marrakech” juice brand. Since the acquisition, Citruma’s management has successfully turned the business around, positioning the company as a leading player in the Moroccan juice market.

Whenever possible, the company sources fruit from local citrus farmers and seeks to expand its operations in a way that benefits Moroccan farmers.

As part of Citruma’s expansion strategy, the company will use the EBRD financing to buy modern equipment, including new production lines. It will also expand the product range of the “Marrakech” brand and enhance distribution capacity.

The Bank’s investment, in the form of mezzanine financing, will provide long-term funding to the company and greater flexibility for its shareholders.

Mr Fodil Cherif, co-founder and General Manager of Citruma, said, “This transaction will be a catalyst for the company and its shareholders to implement Citruma’s expansion programme and achieve its growth objectives. We aim to widen our product range and adapt it to the needs of our markets. Citruma hopes that this transaction is the beginning of a long partnership with the EBRD.”

Gilles Mettetal, the EBRD’s Agribusiness Director, commented: “We are very happy to support the expansion of Citruma. Helping to develop their products and widen their distribution is part of our overall support for the agribusiness sector in Morocco.”

“Investing in Citruma is in line with our commitment to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco and to enhance their competitiveness. The mezzanine instrument is an innovative financial structure in Morocco. It highlights the Bank’s additionality by complementing the debt offering of Moroccan banks and advancing an alternative structure, for SME investments in particular. This project represents the first mezzanine investment by the EBRD in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region,” said Laurent Chabrier, EBRD Director for Morocco.

The loan to Citruma was facilitated by the EBRD’s Local Enterprise Facility (LEF), which was established to support SMEs by providing long-term financing in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey, and recently, in the SEMED region. The LEF is supported by the SEMED Multi-Donor Account.

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