EBRD finances regional expansion of Louis Dreyfus Company
A $100 million loan facility provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will finance the regional expansion of Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), a global merchant and processor of agricultural goods.
The new facility will finance the working capital needs of LDC in eight countries: Bulgaria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.
Founded in 1851, LDC has a diversified portfolio covering the entire value chain, from origination to distribution. The company works in collecting, storing, processing, exporting and importing agricultural goods.
The final portion of the guarantee documentation was signed by Phil Bennett, EBRD first vice-president, and by Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena, chief executive officer of LDC, in the EBRD’s London headquarters.
“Thanks to the EBRD’s sustained support over the past 10 years we continue to expand the geographical scope of our operations in line with our strategy and increase the efficiency and breadth of our supply chain, in order to meet the need for our products and services in this part of the world and provide even better service to our growing customer network,” Martiarena said.
In Ukraine, LDC and the EBRD have been working together since 2000. This partnership is now extended from Eastern Europe to Central Asia and North Africa, making the best use of synergies where applicable.
One example of these synergies is in Egypt, the largest wheat importer in the world. The country is the main export destination for wheat from Ukraine, and Ukraine is also the main supplier of corn imported by Egypt. Making export-import operations between these two countries more efficient will help strengthen global food security. The Egyptian subsidiary of LDC will have the flexibility to use the funds in U.S. dollars or Egyptian pounds, depending on its needs.
The EBRD and LDC plan to continue cooperating on policy dialogue in Egypt and Ukraine, to improve regulations and public-private dialogue in the grain sector in Ukraine and private sector competitiveness in Egypt.
The loan facility also will allow the company to enter Tajikistan for the first time, focusing on the cotton industry, which supports about half the country’s rural population. Under a previous EBRD-financed project, LDC worked in the cotton sector in Kazakhstan, where it is the leading cotton exporter and is also implementing higher industry standards under the umbrella of the global Better Cotton Initiative.
To date, the EBRD said it has invested €10.6 billion in the agribusiness sector through 608 projects. In 2016 alone it invested €840 million in 55 agribusiness projects.