Paris, France, August 22, 2016—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing French-based originator and processor of grains, the Soufflet Group, with a €30 million loan to support the group’s long-term investment program and boost agri-business in Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.
Soufflet buys and processes about 600,000 metric tons of grain per annum from more than 3,000 farmers in these countries. The group operates silos and processing plants, and supports the grain supply chain by providing farmers with seeds, fertilizers, technical advice, and, at times, crop financing.
"This operation reflects the long term partnership between IFC and the Soufflet Group” said Marie-Ange Mathieu, Soufflet Group’s CFO. "In this way IFC renewed its trust in Soufflet’s operational capabilities. We are delighted about this partnership which was established over time and supports our development program in emerging countries.”
IFC has made agribusiness a priority because of its potential for broad development impact and strong role in poverty reduction. IFC combines investments and advisory services to help the sector address higher demand and escalating food prices in an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive manner.
"This investment will help local farmers expand their activities by providing input, financing and training, as well as opening opportunities for smaller businesses, including independent grain elevators, importers of agricultural inputs, and transportation companies,” said Tomasz Telma, IFC director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia. "It will also improve food security by reducing grain losses in storage and processing, and help promote high environmental and social standards in the sector.”
IFC has significantly scaled up its investments in agribusiness over the last few years. In fiscal year 2016, IFC’s agribusiness-related investments across the food supply chain totaled $3.4 billion, including funds mobilized from other investors. These investments benefited 3.6 million farmers worldwide.
The Soufflet Group, an important player in the food industry, expert in barley and wheat, is the biggest private buyer of cereals in Europe with four million metric tons bought in France and more than a million metric tons in other countries. It also operates on international cereal markets via its Soufflet Négoce subsidiary.
In barley it is a major player on the world malt market with twenty seven plants in Europe, Asia and South America. In wheat, it is one of Europe’s biggest millers with ten mills in France and Belgium. It is also a significant industrial baker making bread, morning goods and confectionery at sixteen production units in France and one in Portugal. It operates on the fast food market where it has more than two hundred and thirty outlets with the Pomme de Pain chain in France and Le Crobag in Germany. With its Biotechnology Division the Soufflet Group is investing heavily in research on new ways of adding value to agricultural resources.
The Group employs more than 7,500 staff in eighteen countries. In 2014/2015 it had sales of over €4.91 billion, including €548m in industrial baking and fast food.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org