The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing up to $35 million to Ukraine’s leading agricultural producer, Astarta, to help the company diversify its business, boost soybean production in Ukraine and create hundreds of jobs in rural areas.
IFC’s financing to Astarta, which includes a $15 million loan for IFC’s own account and $20 million in debt mobilized from other investors, will help Astarta finance its soybean crushing operation, diversifying its business and securing liquidity at a time when access to finance at the Ukrainian market is limited, according to IFC.
“Given that prices for most grains, dairy and sugar are now low and the macroeconomic situation remains unstable, we are focusing our efforts on increasing efficiency, cutting costs and ensuring profitability. In the long term, growth, diversification and leadership in innovation remain our key strategic priorities,” said Viktor Ivanchyk, Astarta’s CEO.
Rufat Alimardanov, IFC Country Manager for Ukraine and Belarus, said, “Our new project with Astarta highlights how IFC helps Ukrainian agribusiness producers play a bigger role in global food security. We believe in the competitive advantages of the Ukrainian agricultural sector and are working to facilitate more investments into this vital part of the Ukrainian economy.”
Ukraine accounts for about 10 percent of global grain exports. Astarta supplies grain to Asia, North Africa and the Middle East. One of Ukraine’s leading agribusiness producers, the company employs more than 13,000 people and is an important contributor to rural economic activity in the six Ukrainian regions where it operates.
Ukraine’s agribusiness sector is a key driving force for the national economy, accounting for about 20 percent of employment and over a quarter of exports. IFC supports the entire value chain in agribusiness, from farm production to collection, processing, and distribution.
IFC also offers advisory programs in Ukraine focused on simplifying business regulations for agribusiness, expanding access to finance for farmers, encouraging commercial bank lending to the sector, and developing the agri-insurance market. IFC also works to enhance the competitiveness of local players by supporting improvements in food safety management and resource efficiency.