EBRD, EU support Ukrainian berry producer Amethyst Ole

EBRD, EU support Ukrainian berry producer Amethyst Ole

Ukrainian king of antioxidants for European markets

Can you imagine an organic food product that could boost the health of your heart and overall immune system, is an excellent source of dietary fibre, vitamin C and vitamin K and contains a large number of antioxidants?It sounds too good to be true, but this is not the Elixir of Life. You can easily find this “superfood” product in your local market or nearest superstore!

Lowbush blueberries, also known as wild blueberries, were discovered 13,000 years ago and harvested by Native Americans, but the first highbush was developed and cultivated only around 120 years ago. Frederick Coville, an American botanist, was the first to start experimenting with wild berries, searching for the right plants to cultivate. The first commercial crop of highbush blueberries was sold in 1916. Little did Mr Coville know that, less than a century later, blueberry production would reach 45 million kilogrammes per year in the United States of America alone, and the berries would be shipped to South America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Europe and almost every remote corner of the world.

In Ukraine, Amethyst Ole supplies local and international berry lovers with blueberries, the ultimate “superfood” organic product. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) have helped the company to upgrade its production and boost exports.

Paving a path to export goods from micro farmers

Amethyst Ole is located in the picturesque village of Rudnya Bystra in northern Ukraine. It procures and processes wild berries – blueberries in particular. Local businesses and micro-farmers in the Zhytomyr, Khmelnytsk, Rivne and Volyn regions harvest wild berries and bring them to designated collection points scattered around various villages. By midnight, Ole picks up the berries and takes them to the production site. Every batch is processed within four hours of arrival. This ensures that the berries remain fresh and retain their healthy properties.

“When we started in 2011, we already had extensive experience of retailing berries, but with Ole we wanted to concentrate on quality over quantity and, even more importantly, create jobs for locals and give farmers an opportunity to have their goods sold outside Ukraine. With blueberry exports on the rise, we ship to Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium and many other countries,” says Vasyl Chamor, Ole’s Chief Operating Officer.

Freshly picked berries are unloaded in a cooling corridor at -5℃ and then stored in a freezer room at -22 to -25℃ before reaching the processing line. First, a spiral conveyor fans the berries and separates off the leaves, gravel and any other waste. The blueberries are then automatically sorted according to size before reaching the electronic cleaning machine. This state-of-the-art
machine, is a custom-built photographic berry separator, has 16-colour video cameras that allow a 360-degree view of the processed berries.

“This machine is necessary to ensure that only top-quality berries reach the final physical quality check and inspection line before being packed and shipped,” Vasyl explains.

After a final quality check, the blueberries are electronically weighed and packed. Every package goes through a metal detector and is checked for radiation levels. In addition, every batch of berries undergoes regular spot checks for harmful particles.

“We take consumer safety very seriously. Our goal is to ensure that our processing machinery and methods meet the high standards set by the EU. That is why we have all our equipment and processes certified. This includes all relevant certifications for ISO, organic and natural product processing and hazard analysis standards,” Vasyl adds.

Lastly, the company stores the packed blueberries in freezing chambers at approximately -35℃ until they are shipped to customers.

The processes at Amethyst Ole show that the company is a well-oiled machine, reaping the benefits of evolving technology that streamlines the workflow and makes it more efficient. The EU4Business-EBRD credit line helped the berry processor to upgrade machinery and purchase crate-washing equipment, as the company was able to take out a loan through local partner institution Bank Lviv.

Boosting the private sector

Amethyst Ole is just one of the 470 Ukrainian businesses that have benefited from EBRD-EU4Business credit line funds.

Small and medium-sized businesses are vital for sustainable economic development in any country. For agriculturally focused countries like Ukraine, it remains challenging to access technologies and meet industry standards, especially for businesses that are located outside big cities and regional centres.

Through partner banks, the EBRD and the EU support firms in Ukraine and other Eastern Partnership countries with finance and grant incentives to meet international standards and
regulations. This unlocks new opportunities and markets for SMEs, boosts export volumes and builds better economies in the long run.

EBRD and EU support small businesses in Ukraine via Crédit Agricole

EBRD and EU support small businesses in Ukraine via Crédit Agricole

22 Apr 2021

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a loan of €25 million to Crédit Agricole Bank Ukraine to increase the competitiveness of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. The loan is backed by grant funding from the European Union under its EU4Business initiative.

The new financing will enable the bank to expand its leasing solutions, in Ukrainian hryvnia, to MSMEs, so that these firms can invest in upgrades of machinery, equipment and technologies that comply with EU product quality, health and safety, and environmental protection standards. The lender aims to dedicate at least 70 per cent of the loan to financing green technologies, in line with the EBRD’s Green Economy Transition (GET) approach.

In addition to long-term financing, lessees will receive grant support, funded by the EU, in the form of investment incentives on completion of their upgrade projects.

The funding is available under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line (https://eu4business.eu/projects/) ‒ a joint initiative by the EBRD and EU to help companies bring their products and services in line with EU standards, foster workplace health and safety, and advance green practices.

    • EBRD €25 million loan to boost Crédit Agricole’s leasing operations in Ukraine
    • Bank makes more climate finance available for local micro- and small businesses
    • Leasing opportunities backed by EU grants

The programme is also available in Georgia and Moldova, and recently extended to other Eastern Partnership countries to make economies greener, more competitive and more sustainable.

Alexander Pavlov, Deputy Director for Ukraine, Financial Institutions, said: “Access to finance and technology is crucial for sustainable growth of Ukrainian private sector and MSMEs in particular. Leasing is an important alternative way of financing SMEs and we are pleased to increase our support to development of leasing solutions through strong and reliable financial sector partners such as Crédit Agricole.”

Crédit Agricole has been operating in Ukraine (https://www.ebrd.com/ukraine.html) since 1993 and provides a full range of banking services there. In particular, it is a leader in car leasing and a strategic partner to agribusinesses.

Carlos de Cordoue, the CEO of Crédit Agricole, said: “Crédit Agricole is a reliable, long-term partner of the EBRD and I embrace this new stage of our cooperation. By joining efforts, we are supporting businesses to upgrade their machinery fleets, improve competitiveness in the domestic market and grow exports. For that, Crédit Agricole has an effective tool: financial leasing which is becoming more and more popular among our clients. And now, thanks to this programme, leasing of the machinery is even more affordable and financially favourable.”

Ukraine is a top three investment destination for the EBRD. In the past two years alone, the Bank has committed €2 billion to the economy. Financing smaller businesses directly and through financial institutions is a particular focus of the EBRD’s work in Ukraine.

The EBRD also finances infrastructure, energy efficiency and energy security, agricultural and industrial projects. The investments are combined with support for policies that promote the fight against corruption, good governance of state and a more transparent business environment.

Western Ukrainian businesses receive new funds from EBRD and EU

Western Ukrainian businesses receive new funds from EBRD and EU

  • EBRD four-year €7.5 million loan to Bank Lviv
  • Long-term local currency lending to support Ukrainian SMEs
  • Project supported by EU with incentive grants under EU4Business initiative

Small and medium-sized enterprises in western Ukraine will benefit from a new loan of up to €7.5 million to Bank Lviv provided under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line. The loan will be available for disbursement in Ukrainian Hryvna, which will protect Bank Lviv’s borrowers from foreign currency-related risks, and offer long maturities.

The funds are provided in the context of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine. EU grants will be offered as investment incentives to eligible enterprises to reduce the cost of their capital expenditure on upgrades of technology and production processes to comply with EU standards and regulations.

Bank Lviv and its clients will also receive technical assistance from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line consultants, who will assist with projects preparation and implementation.

Bank Lviv CEO Ashot Abrahamyan said: «The deal we signed today with the EBRD represents a convincing example of what real partnership means in difficult times. As a bank, we are committed to continue providing financing to SMEs, especially to agricultural producers. We are grateful to the EBRD and the EU for their commitment and readiness to support our institution and our clients, so that we can move forward together»

Bank Lviv is a regional bank providing banking services to SMEs and private clients across western Ukraine.  It is well established in the Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, Rivne, Ternopil and Uzhgorod regions as well as the capital Kyiv.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Ukraine and to date has committed more than €14.54 billion in over 460 projects to the country.

EBRD and EU allocate the third tranche of EUR 15 million to OTP Leasing to support the Ukrainian businesses

EBRD and EU allocate the third tranche of EUR 15 million to OTP Leasing to support the Ukrainian businesses

A 4-year EBRD senior loan of up to €15 million to OTPL facilitates long-term leases to SMEs across the country. The funding will be available under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line and is part of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the European Union (EU) and Ukraine.  

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line funding is complemented by grant incentives, financed by the EU4Business initiative, helping enterprises to reduce the cost of technology and production upgrades and help investors align with EU standards and regulations. SMEs benefit in many ways, including improving the quality of their products, protect the Health & Safety of their workers and their customers, in some cases reduce energy and fuel costs and, most importantly, improve their competitive positioning.

The EBRD and Ukraine’s leading leasing company LLC “OTP Leasing” (OTPL) are helping local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) continue their business activities despite the current market turmoil caused by the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

OTPL will make funding to their clients available in both Ukrainian Hryvnia and/or Euro. Ukrainian Hryvna leasing financing will of course offer more protection from foreign currency-related risks for lessees and offer longer maturities.

OTP Leasing received a second tranche of EUR 10 million

OTP Leasing received a second tranche of EUR 10 million

OTP Leasing(OTPL), one of the Partner Financial Institutions under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, successfully disbursed the first tranche of EUR 10 million at the beginning of 2019, by leasing equipment to small and medium-sized enterprises. More than 70 clients of OTPLthatreceivedfinancing for equipment leasing,alsoreceived a grant incentive from the European Union under the EU4Business initiative,amounting to 10% of the leasing contract value.

At the end of August this year, the EBRD concluded anew loan agreement with OTPL and allocated the newtrancheofEUR 10 million to continue its support to small and medium businesses. In Ukraine The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line allowssmall and medium-sized enterprises to modernisetheirproduction, increasetheir competitiveness and bring production processes in line with EU standards and compete effectively in European markets.

To learn more about the terms of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Linein Ukraine: eu4business-ebrdcreditline.com.ua

EBRD and EU launch SME credit line in Ukraine

EBRD and EU launch SME credit line in Ukraine

  • EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line launched in Ukraine, individual borrowers can receive loans of up to €3 million in UAH equivalent
  • Thousands of Ukrainian SMEs to benefit from funds worth up to 60 million
  • Credit line to support production upgrades, export potential

Thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ukraine stand to benefit from new financing opportunities offered by the EBRD and the EU.

In a joint initiative, both institutions are introducing the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line to Ukraine designed to finance projects of SMEs and helping companies to use opportunities available under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) between the EU and Ukraine.

The credit line will support privately-owned businesses registered in Ukraine with up to 250 employees. Individual borrowers can receive up to €3 million in Ukrainian hryvnia (UAH) equivalent. The local currency loans will protect borrowers from FX-related risks and have long maturities. 

The credit line will initially be operated through the State Export-Import Bank of Ukraine (UkrEximBank), which has earmarked an allocation of funds worth €22 million (US$ 25 million) and OTP Leasing Ukraine with an allocation of €10 million. Additional loan resources of around €28 million are expected in the near future and will be available to other local financial institutions set to join the credit line.

Participating companies will also receive support in adjusting their production to relevant EU Directives, which will allow them to access the EU single market as competitive contenders.

In addition, the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line will also offer grant incentives to qualified projects. Ukrainian SMEs willing to use eligible technologies, achieve full compliance with sanitary, phytosanitary and food safety regulations or implement complex projects that comply with several EU regulations, will be able to receive an incentive grant for up to 15 per cent of the project cost. 

The list of eligible technologies and corresponding regulation is available here.

Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine: “The EU works hard to ensure that these credit lines bring concrete benefits to the Ukrainian small and medium enterprises — and contribute to both economic growth in Ukraine and stronger economic ties between Ukraine and the EU. In 2018 Ukrainian exports to the EU grew by 15 per cent, imports by 11.5 per cent compared to the previous year; we see these DCFTA credit lines as instrumental in continuing these positive trends.”

Matteo Patrone, EBRD Managing Director, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, said: “This credit line is about integration both in a geographical and an economic sense. Following the establishment of the DCFTA between the EU and Ukraine, multiple opportunities have opened for domestic businesses. The launch of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line provides local SMEs, which create almost 80 per cent of jobs in the country but are currently responsible for only about 40 per cent of GDP, with additional access to finance, so they can develop further, become more competitive and comply with EU standards.”

The credit line supports the shared EBRD/EU objectives of increasing business competitiveness and economic integration in line with the EU’s DCFTA goals and the EBRD’s transition mandate. The launch sends a strong signal of the two institutions’ commitment to Ukraine, contributing to a competitive and well-integrated economy. 

OTPL raises interest in DCFTA opportunities during InterAgro in Kiev

OTPL raises interest in DCFTA opportunities during InterAgro in Kiev

OTPL, the Partner Finance Institute of the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line programme In Ukraine participated in the 13th InterAgro Exhibition in Kiev.   OTPL presented its leasing products under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line to farm equipment suppliers as well as users of agricultural equipment.

InterAGRO is the main occasion of the year where innovations in agricultural machinery and equipment as well as related services are showcased.

At the exhibition, the latest developments and innovations for the global and national machine building for agricultural sector are represented, as well as agricultural equipment for repair and maintenance, spare parts, precision agriculture and climate technologies, equipment and technologies for crops growing, agricultural chemistry.

Within the frames of the exhibition, a series of business events will be held, the topics of which is formed with respect to the current issues of the agroindustrial complex, taking into account the latest tendencies of the industry development all over the world. Participants of the international conferences, seminars, round tables will be able to orientate themselves in the whirlpool of the novelties of the sector and understand the directions of the industry development.

The EU4Business-EBRD Credit line is a joint initiative of EU and EBRD to help Ukrainian SMEs finance investments, which enable them to seize the opportunities presented by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA). 

The initiative, consisting of leasing/loan finance and cash-back incentives financed by the EU, is designed to support Ukraine’s SMEs and entrepreneurs in aligning their businesses with EU Directives, helping them reach out to new market opportunities by investing in upgrades of their production processes and services. 

EBRD and EU provide €1.15 billion to support SMEs in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

EBRD and EU provide €1.15 billion to support SMEs in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

Oct 22, 2018 

At a high-level conference in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, Katarína Mathernová, Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, said:
“We are pleased to announce the extension of our successful programme of access to finance supporting reforms important for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area to function. The EU4Business-EBRD Credit line has allowed SMEs in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, agriculture and food processing, transport, services and health care to improve their products, strengthen their export potential and adopt EU standards and technical norms. The combination of EBRD finance and EU grants
has proven to be a perfect match to the needs of Georgian companies.” 
Through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit line – a joint EBRD-EU programme supported by the EU4Business initiative and active since September 2016 – over 100 Georgian companies have received €60 million in financing so far. 

Concrete projects under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line range from investments in machinery to complex programmes where companies had the opportunity to draw on free technical assistance provided by an international team of experts. Half of the projects financed in Georgia are with companies located in regions outside the capital, Tbilisi. “We are delighted to see the first real results of our financing supporting Georgian companies. From hazelnut processing to road construction, from promoting local produce to succeeding in foreign markets – companies financed by the programme have decided to invest in the European standards, and we are happy to be part of their success,” said Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus. The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is also available in Moldova and will soon be launched in Ukraine. It will assist local SMEs in reaping the benefits associated with their countries’ free trade agreements with the EU, the world’s largest trading block. The EBRD supports businesses with much-needed finance through local partner banks, which allows them to invest in efficient and modern equipment and technologies. EU funds complement investments with technical expertise and provide incentive payments to companies for successful completion. Access to knowledge and know-how is yet another dimension of the EBRD-EU cooperation, with EU funding of €18 million, while the EBRD SME Finance and Development Group fosters advisory services for enhanced performance and growth in all EU Eastern Partnership countries. The conference in Tbilisi today gathered representatives of the EU, EBRD, International Monetary Fund, International Finance Corporation, local firms and business associations. It provided an opportunity to take stock and discuss the future outlook of the programme. Participants agreed that the combination of EBRD finance through local banks such as TBC Bank or Bank of Georgia and EU grant funds remains an attractive and crucial proposition for local businesses.

EBRD and EU support OTP Leasing in Ukraine – EBRD Press Release

EBRD and EU support OTP Leasing in Ukraine – EBRD Press Release

12 September 2018

  • EBRD four-year UAH 324 million (€10 million equivalent) loan to OTP Leasing Ukraine
  • Long-term local currency lending to support Ukrainian SMEs
  • Project supported by incentive grant of €1 million under EU4Business initiative

The EBRD is providing a local currency loan of up to UAH 324 million (€10 million equivalent) to OTP Leasing (OTPL) in Ukraine for long-term leases to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country.

SMEs will also benefit from grant funding of up to €1 million available under the European Union’s EU4Business initiative, which helps small firms to invest and benefit from the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between Ukraine and the EU. By joining the EBRD programme, which is linked to the DCFTA, OTPL and its clients will also benefit from expert advice in the form of training and support provided by consultants.

The grants will be provided as investment incentives to eligible SMEs to reduce the cost of their capital expenditure on upgrades of technology and production processes in line with EU standards and regulations.

OTP Leasing, a limited liability company incorporated in Ukraine and owned by OTP Bank PLC of Hungary, has been a well-established market player in Ukraine for a decade. The latest EBRD loan will allow OTPL to increase the terms of leases it offers and provide them in local currency. This will enable the leasing provider to diversify its customer base, especially by targeting smaller companies. The use of local currency will shield local borrowers from foreign exchange risks.

EU4Business is an EU initiative that supports private sector in the Eastern Partnership countries, including Ukraine. It aims to improve business climate by offering professional advice and access to financing for small and medium-sized businesses. Support under the EU4Business initiative is provided jointly with other organisations such as the EBRD.

The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. To date, the Bank has made a cumulative commitment of almost €12.1 billion across some 400 projects since the start of its operations in the country in 1993.