- By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media
IFC Invests $35M in Leading Ukrainian Grain and Oilseed Producer and Processor, Astara
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has announced it is investing US$35 million in one of Ukraine’s leading agricultural producers, Astara – a vertically integrated agricultural company focused on the cultivation of grains, oilseed, and sugar beets, the production of white sugar and milk, and oilseed processing.
The total financing package will be comprised of a $15 million loan from the IFC and $20 million in debt mobilized from other investors, offering the company much needed liquidity as access to financing in Ukraine at this time is difficult to secure.
The firm plans to use the funds to diversify its business, increase soybean production, and create jobs in rural regions of the country.
“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.
Agribusiness accounts for more than 25% of Ukraine’s exports, and Ukraine currently accounts for approximately 10% of the world’s total grain exports. As one of the country’s leading agricultural producers, operating in six of Ukraine’s regions, Astara is a key component of the country’s agro-industrial sector, shipping grain to Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East.
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,” said Rufat Alimardanov, IFC Country Manager for Ukraine and Belarus.
As agriculture is such a key driver for the country’s economic growth, the IFC also offers advisory programs designed to streamline regulatory hurdles for the sector, increase access to financing for farmers - in part, through encouraging lending from commercial banks, and developing agricultural insurance services, food safety protocols, and the efficient use of resources.