The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a leading Egyptian dairy and juice producer, the International Company for Agricultural Industries Projects, SAE (Beyti), with a loan of up to $44m (or the equivalent in Egyptian pounds), according to a Wednesday press statement from the EBRD.
The loan includes a committed tranche of up to EGP 150m and an uncommitted tranche for up to $35.5m or EGP equivalent, added the statement, noting that the EBRD funding will enable the company to refinance existing short-term loans with a longer tenor loan more suitable for its investment and development phase.
The loan will also fund new investments to expand the company’s production and logistical capacities to cope with the rapidly growing national and regional dairy and juice sectors in Egypt, noted the statement.
The company aims to reduce its carbon footprint with more efficient use of water and energy, as well as the deployment of renewable energy sources. Plans include shifting to the use of solar energy and improving wastewater treatment, which in turn reduces carbon emissions, said the statement.
Beyti is also working on enhancing their corporate standards and business conduct by promoting equal opportunity policies and practices, which in turn will contribute to increasing women’s participation in the workforce, mentioned the statement, adding that the company received an EBRD Environmental and Social Award in recognition of its efforts so far in the development of a gender equality action plan.
The EBRD’s investment will also support market expansion of the dairy and juice sectors in Egypt by strengthening backward and forward linkages. This includes increasing production of raw milk and fruit concentrate at local dairy farms and juice concentrate producers, as well as expanding Beyti’s logistical capacity in both sectors by increasing the number of distribution centres and delivery capacity, hence achieving a higher number of sales points in the country.
“We are very happy with our agreement with the EBRD that will create new opportunities for our business. Partnering with a financial institution that puts such focus on promoting environmentally and socially sound, and sustainable development is of added value to any business,” Mohamed Badran, chief executive officer of Beyti, commented.
Tarek El Sherbini, EBRD’s head of agribusiness for the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, said, “we are extremely pleased with the signing of our first project with Beyti and with two major international shareholders, Almarai Company and PepsiCo. We look forward to increasing strategic cooperation in Egypt and other common countries of operations.”
Beyti is one of the largest producers of milk, juice, and yoghurt in Egypt, targeting a rapidly rising population market of more than 90 million consumers and catering to different consumer profiles. The market size makes the development and further expansion of the Egyptian agribusiness sector crucial.
Beyti has a fully automated, state-of-the-art facility on the Cairo-Alexandria Desert Road, employing over 3,000 people.
The plant is equipped with the best food processing techniques, including high-speed processing machinery capable of producing a variety of juices and natural dairy-based products to the highest standards of hygiene and safety, targeting domestic consumption, and export sales.
Beyti is 52% owned by Almarai Company, one of the largest integrated consumer food producers in the MENA region, headquartered in Saudi Arabia, and 48% by PepsiCo Inc, one of the largest producers of beverages and snacks in the world.
Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD and has been a country of operations since 2012. To date, the bank has invested over €4bn in 85 projects in the country. The bank has also provided technical assistance to more than 700 small- and medium-sized local enterprises.