The FINANCIAL — Aitmamat Nazarov has been working in beverage production for over 10 years and had always dreamed of leading a high quality drinks manufacturing company in the Kyrgyz Republic.
Such an opportunity presented itself in 2009, when a leading national drinks producer, Artezian, decided to expand its production facilities.
A new factory site just outside the capital, Bishkek, was acquired with excellent transport links and access to a crystal clean water source – a vital ingredient for good quality soft drinks and beer, according to EBRD.
The building, however, was in a sorry state. To turn it into a modern production facility would require a huge amount of effort.
“This factory was a very old Soviet-era one, completely without equipment, and the buildings half derelict,” Mr Nazarov said.
“We set ourselves the task of making a European-standard factory. But we ran into tough problems when reconstructing the plant, including a lack of finance. So we turned to the EBRD”.
With EBRD financing worth €7 million, the company was able to rebuild the factory from the ground up, using highly insulating materials. Once the structure was solid, it was fitted out with energy efficient production facilities, such as steam boilers, CO2 capturing technology and an advanced energy management system.
This equipment was acquired with support from the EBRD’s FINTECC programme, which is funded by the Global Environment Facility, and was another example of the EBRD’s global leadership in tackling climate change by engaging the private sector on energy efficiency.
Through its FINTECC programme, business-owners are given grant funding to purchase cutting-edge climate-resilient technology.
Here too, technology has driven down energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, all the more important in a country like Kyrgyz Republic, where temperatures can frequently drop below -20°C in the wintertime.
“They helped us install energy efficient equipment and technology, and as well as finance, they helped train our personnel,” said Mr Nazarov, now President of Bear Beer, whose parent company is Artezian.
“Our company is very proud to have received official certification of compliance with international standards.”
In just a few years, Beer Bear has become one of the market leaders in the domestic markets for both soft drinks and beer. The savings made from its investment in energy efficient equipment has made the business more competitive while helping protect the environment.
“This project is just one example of how the EBRD and Global Environment Facility engage the private sector to help achieve global climate goals,” said Jyldyz Galieva, a Senior Banker at EBRD.
In 2014, 34 per cent of the EBRD’s €8.9 billion investment was in the sustainable energy and climate change area. The EBRD is playing a key role in helping to deliver private sector finance to achieve global climate goals and will be bringing its expertise to the COP21 Sustainable Innovation Forum in Paris later this year.
Looking ahead, Mr Nazarov hopes to increase the range of drinks the company offers and eventually to expand beyond the Kyrgyz Republic to newer and larger markets.