The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to provide a US$100M loan facility for the regional expansion of global agri commodity trader Louis Dreyfus Company.

The loan was set to finance the working capital needs of Louis Dreyfus in eight countries, comprising Bulgaria, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Poland, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine, EBRD said in a statement on 16 March.

Gilles Mettetal, EBRD’s director for agribusiness, said the bank was happy to continue to support Louis Dreyfus, which was “strongly engaged” in East Europe and North Africa.

“This project is bringing agricultural producers in eastern Europe closer to consumers in North Africa to strengthen global food security,” he explained.

EBRD and Louis Dreyfus had worked together in Ukraine since 2000, but the cooperation was now being expanded to areas such as Egypt, which was – as the world’s largest wheat importer – the main export location for Ukrainian wheat, EBRD said.

Making export import operations between the two countries more efficient would help improve regulations and public-private dialogue in the Ukrainian grain sector and private sector competitiveness in Egypt.

“Thanks to the EBRD’s sustained support over the past 10 years, we continue to expand the geographical scope of our operations in line with our strategy and increase the efficiency and breadth of our supply chain, in order to meet the need for our products and services in this part of the world,” said Gonzalo Ramirez Martiarena, global CEO at Louis Dreyfus.

The ABRD loan would also help Louis Dreyfus to enter Tajikistan for the first time, focusing on the cotton industry, which supported about half of the country’s rural population.

Under a previous EBRD-financed project, the agri trader worked in the cotton sector in Kazakhstan, where it was implementing higher industry standards under the umbrella of the global Better Cotton Initiative.