The EBRD is providing a loan of up to US$ 150 million to the agribusiness trader Olam International Limited, one of the leading global traders in agricultural commodities, to support the company’s increasing engagement in Egypt, Georgia, Poland, Turkey and Ukraine.
Olam is already active in these countries and the EBRD loan will finance purchases of agricultural commodities such as hazelnuts in Georgia and Turkey, dry dairy products and grain in Ukraine, onions in Egypt and dry dairy products in Poland. Local subsidiaries of the company will take on the processing, storage and distribution of these goods.
US$ 30 million of the total investment will support Olam’s activities in Egypt, to increase the volume of dried onions exported, while also transferring expertise to its suppliers from the firm’s operations in California. Olam has developed an innovative technology for onion production, significantly reducing the quantity of water required for conventional production of onions and helping to make more efficient use of Egypt’s water resources. In addition, Olam supports farmers in improving their agronomic practices.
This new financing agreement will continue the firm’s cooperation in Ukraine, where Olam is an exporter of dry dairy products and, increasingly, of grains.
Through its investments in Georgia and Turkey, two of the world’s leading producers of hazelnuts, Olam will meet the growing global demand for hazelnuts and increase the volume of sustainably sourced hazelnuts.
In a press conference hosted by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation in Egypt, Minister Sahar Nasr praised the joint cooperation between Egypt and the EBRD, saying: “The Bank’s portfolio in Egypt has reached over €3 billion, with about 70 per cent of its investments in the private sector, and the EBRD has financed projects in infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprises and renewable energy.” Minister Nasr also highlighted the importance of sustainable economic growth in eradicating poverty by providing long-term strategies for development.
Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Deputy Head of Egypt, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Olam’s operations in Egypt, and across other countries where the EBRD invests. This loan is a perfect example of how we can work with a strong partner such as Olam to improve the competitiveness of locally produced food, help the Egyptian agricultural sector diversify into different crops, and support economic inclusion in the agricultural sector.”