A number of major changes in production facilities across the region sees Danone reversing its decision to close a biscuit factory in Poland, the EBRD readying to invest in dried fruit production in Uzbekistan and Minsk Beer poised to build another brewery in Belarus.
Danone reverses decision to close Polish biscuit factory
LU Polska, part of the French food giant Danone, has said that it will not liquidate its facility in Jaroslaw and that production will continue as normal.
In a press statement the company said that it will maintain the current production facilities as they stand, but that the workforce would be cut back according to market demands. This means that of the 343 staff at around 160 will keep their jobs and the rest of the workforce will be receiving severance pay.
The future of the facility has been hanging in the balance for a year, following the company's initial announcement to liquidate it and move production moved to another plant near Warsaw. The company had originally planned to sell the facility onto another investor, but after the deal fell through the company decided it would be more feasible to keep the plant running.
EBRD loan ups Uzbek dried fruit exports
An Uzbek firm which processes and packs dried fruit and vegetables for export to Russia, Ukraine and western Europe has received a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) uunder a programme devised to finance agricultural projects in the Bank's countries of operations.
The EBRD is lending Berad-Agro up to $630,000 (€514,000) to enable it to buy stocks of onions, potatoes, tomatoes and dried grapes from local farmers at harvest time. This will help the firm export Uzbek raisins and dried vegetables to markets in Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine.
The loan is being made as part of the 'Early Transition Countries' (ETC) initiative launched by the EBRD this year to stimulate market activity in Central Asia, the Caucasus and Moldova by using a streamlined approach to financing more and smaller projects.
Laurent Guye, Executive Director representing Switzerland, Uzbekistan and six other countries on the EBRD Board, said at the signing ceremony in Samarkand that Berad-Agro is the first direct beneficiary of the programme to provide small seasonal working-capital loans that will enable development of agribusinesses. Guye also noted that the project represents the first investment by the Bank in Uzbekistan's fruit-processing industry - a key source of export revenue for the local economy and also an important alternative to cotton farming.
Minsk beer to build new plant in Belarus
The Belarus-Hungarian brewery company Minsk Beer says it is to commission a new brewing plant to extend it operations in Belarus.
According to news provider Novecon, the plant will produce premium class beer, and will have an annual capacity of 1.2 million decalitres. The report added that construction of the plant will begin soon and that it will be fitted with foreign equipment, although details of the exact amount invested or the location of the plant have not been revealed.
Currently Minsk Beer consists of 14 Belarus brewing plants with a total production capacity of 40.6 million decalitres a year. Belarus has a population of 10.2 million people and a growing taste for beer. In 2001 per capita consumption of beer in the country is 26 litres, equating total consumption in the region of 270 million litres a year and since then economic growth has averaged 4 per cent a year.