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A small UK company has won a multi-million dollar contract to supply and commission a soy bean processing plant in southeastern Kazakhstan with help from the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) – the UK’s official export credit agency.

Insurance facilities from ECGD have opened the doorway into the central Asian country for the small oilseed processing equipment manufacturer Europa Crown Ltd (ECL). ECGD is providing a six-year export credit guarantee on a bank loan from Deutsche Bank to cover the payment risk involved in the US$3.5mn (£1.95mn) contract won by ECL, which is based in Hessle, east Yorkshire.

OJSC VITA awarded the contract to ECL to supply and commission the 450 tonnes per day preparation, extraction and desolventising plant in Almaty in southeastern Kazakhstan.

Phil Blenkiron, managing director at Europa Crown, says: “Although the contract value is small, ECGD’s involvement has been fundamental to small companies like ourselves entering new markets. Our customer’s future plans to develop new products such as high protein feedstock may result in further contracts for us.”

Kris Van Broekhoven, at the structured trade and export finance team at Deutsche Bank, says: “Deutsche Bank has an excellent trade finance reputation in Kazakhstan and this is the first export credit for the Development Bank of Kazakhstan. We plan to use the legal platform we have established with the bank to finance other UK contracts in Kazakhstan.”

ECL specialises in the design and manufacture of vegetable oilseed processing, and edible oil refining equipment. The company has entered the Kazakh market at a time when the economy is thriving, following a period of increased oil production combined with the recent plateau in high oil prices.