By Olga Rosca
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is strengthening Azerbaijan’s agribusiness sector with a €25 million(US$29.41million) loan to Avrora LLC, a leading producer of pasta, confectionery, soft drinks and flour products.
The loan will be provided in Azerbaijani manat in two equal tranches. The first tranche will be used to finance a new pasta production line. The second will be used for the acquisition of new equipment for the production of biscuits, cakes and animal feed.
Under the cooperation with the EBRD, Avrova will set up a training programme to provide new and existing employees with accredited skills in technical occupations as well as in e-commerce. In addition, the company will ensure that its current activities provide equal opportunities to women and men. Avrora will also review its human resources policies and practices to improve working conditions, making sure that they are equal for women and men. The project represents the first EBRD investment targeted at opening up equal opportunities in Azerbaijan and is in line with the Bank’s new strategic focus on promoting equality of opportunity across its regions.
Supporting local companies in their expansion, through direct financing and targeted long-term advice, and promoting economic diversification are among the EBRD’s priorities in the country.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Azerbaijan. To date, the Bank has invested €3.1 billion through 174 projects in the country. It also provides business advice to local small and medium-sized enterprises and has helped more than 1,000 firms to improve their performance and growth.