Guy Norton in London -
In its latest agribusiness-related transaction, the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) is lending €6.5m to Bulgarian meat company Boni Holding. The company will use the loan to complete the second stage of its plant modernisation programme, initiated with the support of the EBRD in 2006, which will help it improve the energy efficiency of its pig farms as well as bring them up to EU environmental standards.
In 2006, the EBRD provided Boni with a €15m loan to finance its investment programme, which included the construction of a new cutting and de-boning hall, and meat processing units to increase production efficiency and raise environmental standards. The additional financing will enable Boni Holding to achieve further improvements and increased efficiency of the production processes in the meat processing facilities and pig farms. "This project reinforces the EBRD's commitment to support the development of private businesses with strong vision in the current challenging market conditions. We are pleased to continue our successful relationship with Boni Holding and help the company raise further its production and environmental standards," says Gilles Mettetal, director of the EBRD agribusiness team. In the agribusiness sector, the EBRD has committed more than €5bn in over 340 projects across Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS.
Meanwhile, Russia is looking to become self-sufficient in terms of pork production within two years. Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov recently announced that Russia will no longer need to import pork by the end of 2012, given investments in modern farms that should boost domestic production volumes to 200,000 tonnes a year by 2013.
Through a series of greenfield investments and acquisitions, business magnates such as so-called Sausage Tsar Vadim Dymov, who owns Dymovskoe kolbasnoe proizvodstvo (Dymov Sausage Works), have fought off competition from abroad to claim a large slice of the lucrative meat market in Russia. Since he established his business in 2001, Dymov has invested over $600m in his meat empire and by the start of 2010 it was producing around 22,000 tonnes of sausages a year. Dymov Sausage Works is expected it to have generated total sales revenue of RUB7.7bn in 2009. Even more remarkably, perhaps, Dymov has also seemingly achieved the impossible by making the humble sausage a fashionable product. In May 2004, he hired Austrian food technologist Georg Gruber to create an "Haute Cuisine" range incorporating unusual ingredients such as pistachios, walnuts, oregano and prunes.
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