bne IntelliNews – EBRD aims to finance Al Dahra expansion in Romania and Serbia
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will decide on July 21 whether or not to grant two loans totaling 54 million euros to companies in the Al Dahra group of companies, a global player agribusiness headquartered in Abu Dhabi.
The loans are intended to finance the group’s expansion in Romania (mainly crop production, including logistics) and in Serbia (crop production and processing).
Al Dahra is owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and is part of Al Ain Holding. In 2018, the company acquired Serbian agricultural company Poljoprivredna Korporacija Beograd (PKB) for just over 100 million euros and Agricost farms in Romania for more than 200 million euros. Four years earlier, Al Dahra had bought 51% of the Serbian company Rudnap Agrar from its 100% owner Rudnap Group, controlled by Serbian businessman Vojin Lazarevic.
PKB was the largest agricultural enterprise in the former Yugoslavia and is now the largest in Serbia, with 29,000 hectares of land near Belgrade. Agricost has a long-term concession contract with the Romanian state for 57,000 hectares of land on an island in the Danube, the largest parcel of land in Europe. In both countries, Al Dahra has promised big investments: 500 million euros in Romania and the development of an industrial complex of 10 independent biogas plants in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
One of the EBRD loans, amounting to 20 million euros, would be granted to Agricost to finance new storage facilities needed in the context of increasing alfalfa production volumes over the next five years. The increase in storage will allow Al Dahra to better position itself in the global alfalfa market during the winter period of low supply.
The other loan envisaged by the EBRD would be for Al Dahra Serbia (ADS), a food company based near Belgrade.
Unlike the Romanian subsidiary of Al Dahra, ADS is a vertically integrated agribusiness company involved in primary agricultural activities, animal husbandry and dairy farming.
The loan proceeds would allow ADS to finance investments in crop improvement, a new alfalfa plant, an animal feed plant and the modernization of its dairy farm operations.