Provision of a long-term loan (the "loan") of up to EUR 34m to Al Dahra Serbia ("ADS"), a vertically integrated agribusiness company with operations near Belgrade, Serbia.
ADS is owned by Al Dahra group of companies (the "Group" or "Al Dahra"), a leading global agribusiness player, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and specialised in the cultivation, production and trading of animal feed and essential human food commodities such as rice, flour, fruits, and vegetables.
Proceeds from the loan will enable ADS to finance investments in crop farming improvements, a new alfalfa factory, an animal feed factory and modernisation of its dairy farms operations.
These investments aim at enhancing and optimising ADS' crop farming operations including through significantly enlarging the irrigated area, and modernising ADS' dairy operations with the aim of improving the quality of milk and the milk yield through the replacement of the old dairy farms withstate-of-the-art new ones.
These investments aim finally to expand ADS' business in relation to the processing of alfalfa, hence creating more value in ADS, and initiating its export activity, positioning ADS and Serbia as a key origination country in the global alfalfa market.
ETI score: 65
The project's transition impact is expected to derive from the Competitive and Well-Governed qualities by: (i) supporting ADS to implement operational changes leading to competitiveness improvements; and (ii) in the context of the project, Al Dahra will address specific gaps in its climate governance practices and make important first steps towards establishing a robust and transparent Corporate Climate Governance ("CCG") framework.
AL DAHRA SERBIA DOO
ADS is a vertically integrated agribusiness company involved in primary agriculture activities, livestock and dairy farming.
Al Dahra is a global agribusiness player, founded in 2005 with headquarters in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
EBRD Finance Summary
The EUR 34m include committed and uncommitted tranches.
Total Project Cost
Risk Mitigation: (i) EBRD helps the client to mitigate climate governance risks and take climate action, such as to improve its internal corporate governance for managing climate risks; (ii) EBRD support provides comfort to the client to invest further into recently penetrated countries such as Serbia. The Group views the Bank as a strategic partner in Serbia and other common countries of operations.
Standard-setting: Client seeks/makes use of EBRD expertise on corporate governance improvements, including for climate risk management.
Environmental and Social Summary
Categorised B (2019 ESP).The due diligence consisted of an independent assessment of the company's current E&S management systems and performance at both the corporate and country levels, project E&S risks and impacts, including a separate animal welfare assessment, and a GHG assessment. The due diligence was carried out in line with the Covid-19 approach through remote documentation review, interviews with company management and review of video footage and photographs provided by the company.
The company's dairy operations have been identified as having greenhouse gas emissions in excess of 100,000 of CO2-equivalent annually, and therefore a separate assessment of current and future GHG emissions was carried out in compliance with PR3 and to inform both the GET ratio and economic assessment. The project is Paris aligned on climate change mitigation. Furthermore the key physical climate change risks that may affect the project are considered as either immaterial or sufficiently mitigated by the specific features of the project. The project is therefore Paris aligned with the climate change adaptation objective.
The company is in the process of rolling-out their corporate environmental and social management system to their Serbian operations and a review of the existing investment in Al Dahra Morocco has confirmed that progress made in the implementation of the corporate-level ESAP measures has been swift and extensive. While Al Dahra have demonstrated commitment to improving environmental and social performance at the corporate level, further efforts are required to implement these improvements effectively within the Serbian operations.
All company lands have been under agricultural exploitation for many decades under the previous management of the Serbian state and all the project activities will occur on land that is already significantly modified from its natural condition. Hence, the absence of a detailed baseline report is not considered a significant risk for the proposed investment. There are a number of IUCN Category III, IV and V protected areas within 2 to 30 km of the project area, and four key biodiversity areas (KBA) near or overlapping with the land under operations. The consultant determined that one of the KBAs, which is also an IBA, is likely to constitute a priority biodiversity feature under PR6 and that it could be adversely impacted by project activities. Environmental monitoring is currently undertaken to meet national legislative requirements. Water from the Danube is used for irrigation of crops and the project will increase the overall use from 2 million to approximately 22 million m3 per year. In addition, groundwater from two wells partially supply farm needs.
The changes proposed to the dairy operations and to the existing feed factory present an opportunity to reduce the level of operational environmental impact from existing levels, by improving pollution prevention infrastructure and process efficiency. The efficiency improvements are also expected to lead to a reduction in staff numbers within existing operations, although a smaller number of jobs will be created at the new alfalfa facility. The company employs most of its workers directly and mainly from the five local communities (72/28% male/female ratio). None of the communities is located in close proximity to the proposed project activities. However, the operation of the proposed new alfalfa factory will result in a significant number of vehicle movements associated with the export of the alfalfa product. Local roads will be used to access the road network, increasing risks of traffic related incidents and accidents in the community.
Project approvals cannot currently be obtained from the relevant Serbian authorities for the proposed dairy upgrades, modifications to the feed storage facilities or drainage and irrigation upgrades due to the status of regional and local land plans. The company is working with the relevant authorities to resolve this barrier to development.
Findings from the animal welfare assessment indicate that ADS currently has just over 7,000 milking cows and a total number of 16,800 cattle. All cattle are housed permanently indoors with no outdoor access for grazing. Animal feed is from the company's own feed mill and fodder crops, and water is from borehole sources. The farms maintain good records on medicines, and biosecurity measures are in place. The company has experienced leadership in place, though recruitment and retention difficulties have resulted in a shortage of qualified staff. Although not prohibited by EU legislation, an issue arises from the tethering system for cattle on the four smaller farms, which is not in line with good practice. This will be addressed through appropriate plans for phasing out such practices and the move to the new centralised modern dairy facilities.
An environmental and social action plan, including animal welfare actions, has been developed based on the findings of the assessment and will be agreed with the company prior to Board approval. This ESAP includes requirements for the development of relevant local Environmental Impact Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements for new facilities, an approved zoning plan, staff training on ESMS requirements, a biodiversity action plan, measures for the prevention of sexual harassment, a collective dismissals plan, risk assessment of the supply chain, improvements to manure storage and management, water balance and optimization of water use, traffic risk and impact assessment, emergency response plans for each facility, as well as a biodiversity survey and action plan. A stakeholder engagement plan has been developed by the consultant and will need to be implemented by the company.
Company Contact Information
+971 2 656 5078
+971 2 656 5078
Al Ain Tower, 130455, Abu Dhabi, UAE
PSD last updated
25 Oct 2021
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