The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is lending US$8mn to Bayteks Ticaret, a privately-owned company, to build and operate a modern plant in Uzbekistan to manufacture knitted cotton garments, mainly for export.

Uzbekistan is one of the world’s largest cotton producers and the second largest exporter. However, despite the government’s strong support for textile investments, only about 28% of total cotton fibre output is processed domestically because the country lacks manufacturing capacity.

Bayteks Ticaret will employ more than 1,200 people and manufacture, at full capacity, about 8mn pieces of quality basic and polo t-shirts a year.

Bayteks Ticaret is owned by two private Turkish textile companies, Baha and Ultas. Haluk Bayatli, the general manager of Bayteks and a major shareholder of Baha, said at the signing ceremony in London that Bayteks has made a strategic decision to expand its production base outside of Turkey, to Uzbekistan, where production costs are considerably lower, in order to supply its existing and potential clients in export markets such as the EU, US and Russia.

The five-year loan will cover 29% of the cost of building the new plant in the capital, Tashkent.

This investment is part of the EBRD country strategy for Uzbekistan, which focuses on supporting private-sector development and entrepreneurship, particularly SMEs and micro-business, provided that there is no direct or indirect link to the government or government officials.