A US small business will use a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic) to expand manufacturing operations at the largest producer of dairy and juice products in the Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus, in the process transferring technology that will benefit both the company and the dairy industry in Georgia.

Opic’s US$4mn loan will enable Sante GMT Products, owned in part by five US investors, to establish 10 new milk collection centres; upgrade and add equipment for production lines; boost its marketing efforts; and improve its distribution network. The project is expected to generate 90 permanent local jobs and approximately US$3.4mn in tax revenue for the Georgian government over five years.

Part of the upgrade will involve installation of state-of-the-art technology enabling Sante GMT to convert to use of natural milk, rather than milk powder, for its production cycle. Natural milk is not only less expensive, but enables the company to produce a fuller range of dairy products utilising all milk by-products. Consequently, Sante GMT will expand its production of butter and cheese, and revive production of yogurt and mayonnaise.

“This project will significantly upgrade the Republic of Georgia’s agricultural infrastructure, delivering important economic and health benefits to an industry vital to Georgia’s population,” says Opic president and CEO Robert Mosbacher. “Opic is pleased to work with a US small business on a project with so many positive developmental benefits.”