The EBRD has purchased a US$45mn equity stake in Kazakh agricultural company KazExportAstyk (KEA).

The proceeds of the investment will aid KEA’s future growth and improve its balance sheet structure. KEA is the third largest grain producer and the biggest oil seed producer in the Central Asian republic.

In closing this deal, the EBRD becomes the first international financial institution to invest directly in a primary agricultural company in Kazakhstan. This is also the EBRD’s second equity investment in the firm after providing a US$35mn loan in 2009.

Ruslan Moldabekov, chairman of the board of KEA, says: “We are proud of our partnership with the EBRD, which has already helped KazExportAstyk to diversify its production and become one of the biggest producers of oil crops in the CIS region.”

EBRD president Thomas Mirow adds: “Food producers in the EBRD region, particularly in Kazakhstan, have great potential, but they need more options to access finance. To increase productivity, Kazakhstan needs more investment. This can mostly come from the private sector, and the private sector is precisely what the EBRD is supporting with this and other deals.”

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested approximately €4bn in over 140 projects in various sectors of the Kazakh economy.