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Mercuria secures Middle East borrowing base facility
Mercuria secures Middle East borrowing base facility
Jonathan Bell
30 July 2014

Mercuria Energy Trading Middle East DMCC, a subsidiary of Mercuria Energy Group, has secured a $200 million borrowing base facility through a group of banks.

Aureus Mining receives equity financing from IFC
Aureus Mining receives equity financing from IFC
Jonathan Bell
30 July 2014

The IFC has agreed to invest £6.6 million ($11.1 million equivalent) in Aureus Mining to further the company’s gold exploration and development work in Liberia.

Ukraine gets grain storage boost with EBRD loan
Ukraine gets grain storage boost with EBRD loan
Jonathan Bell
29 July 2014

The Ukrainian agri-sector has received a boost with funds for a new grain storage terminal in the Port of Odessa.

Ghana Cocobod increases PXF
Ghana Cocobod increases PXF
Jonathan Bell
28 July 2014

Ghana National Cocoa Board (Cocobod) is increasing the size of this year’s pre-export financing (PXF) in order to support additional purchasing of the country’s crop through the 2014-2015 season.

Promotion for Bedi at SMBCE
Promotion for Bedi at SMBCE
Jonathan Bell
28 July 2014

Structured commodity finance stalwart Pepi Bedi has been promoted to head of structured trade finance at Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corporation Europe (SMBCE). He is based in London.

IFC signs its first agri-loan in DRC
IFC signs its first agri-loan in DRC
Jonathan Bell
28 July 2014

The IFC has signed a loan of $18 million to Terra and African Milling Company Congo, to help the company expand its maize farm and mill in Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The financing is the first agribusiness loan by the IFC into the DRC.

Trafigura launches Asia-focused RCF and loan package
Trafigura launches Asia-focused RCF and loan package
Jonathan Bell
23 July 2014

Commodity trader Trafigura Beheer has launched a $1.3 billion equivalent revolving credit and term loan facilities. The facilities are Asia-focused.

EDC finances Pacific Rubiales Energy
EDC finances Pacific Rubiales Energy
Jonathan Bell
23 July 2014

Canada’s export credit agency, Export Development Canada (EDC), has signed to provide financing of $70 million to Canadian company Pacific Rubiales Energy Corporation.

Natixis teams with IFC and Standard Bank to fund Ethiopian imports of oil products
Natixis teams with IFC and Standard Bank to fund Ethiopian imports of oil products
Jonathan Bell
21 July 2014

In a transaction arranged and led by Natixis, the bank has teamed with IFC and Standard Bank to put in place a $500 million trade finance facility, to finance Ethiopia’s import of refined petroleum products.

IFC and Bladex team for LatAm commodity finance
IFC and Bladex team for LatAm commodity finance
Jonathan Bell
21 July 2014

IFC and Banco Latinoamericano de Comercio Exterior (Bladex) have signed a risk-sharing facility of up to $350 million to expand access to trade finance for agribusinesses in Latin America and contribute to regional food security.

Full house for close of highly successful Fin4Ag Nairobi conference
Full house for close of highly successful Fin4Ag Nairobi conference
Jonathan Bell
17 July 2014

“One of the highlights of a successful conference is often how many people are left at the end. And this room is full!” declares Michael Hailu, director, Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), at the closing ceremony of the highly successful Fin4Ag Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, jointly hosted by CTA and the African Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (AFRACA).

African agriculture – a world-beating business within 20 years
African agriculture – a world-beating business within 20 years
Helen Castell
17 July 2014

African agriculture stands at a crossroads and it alone is responsible for taking the right path. The sector has the potential to become a world beater within two decades, but only with a shift in mindset, the right technology and better corporate governance, delegates heard at a closing session for the Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi.

Agricultural Investment Funds target Africa
Agricultural Investment Funds target Africa
Hesham Zakai
17 July 2014

The number of Agricultural Investment Funds (AIFs) has increased significantly over the past decade, alongside an increase in the world’s population and food demand. Africa has been the chief beneficiary of this trajectory with 40% of AIFs established having an African geographic focus.

Rosneft, VEB, Gazprombank and Novatek hit by new sanctions
Rosneft, VEB, Gazprombank and Novatek hit by new sanctions
Dan Sheriff
17 July 2014

US and EU make new announcements on the Russia-Ukraine crisis with further impact on trade

Crowdfunding is springboard for bank customers of tomorrow
Crowdfunding is springboard for bank customers of tomorrow
Helen Castell
17 July 2014

Crowdfunding has the potential to turn smallholder farmers into the bank customers of tomorrow, helping them grow to the stage at which they are able to tap traditional finance, delegates to the Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi heard Thursday (July 17).

Mobile finance shifting to rural areas
Mobile finance shifting to rural areas
Max Carter
17 July 2014

Mobile finance has undergone strong growth in recent years, with more than 220 operational platforms worldwide. While the majority of these have so far been confined to urban areas, providers are fast realising the need to break into rural regions to expand market share and achieve nationwide presence.

Nine-country report proposes way forward for warehouse receipt finance
Nine-country report proposes way forward for warehouse receipt finance
Helen Castell
17 July 2014

A new study into warehouse receipts and collateral management was unveiled this week at the Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi. The 200-page report dissects the experiences of nine countries examining lessons learned and highlighting potential ways forward in one of the most exciting fields of agricultural finance.

Kenyan agribusiness gets IFC support with Bidco loan
Kenyan agribusiness gets IFC support with Bidco loan
Jonathan Bell
17 July 2014

IFC is lending $36.5 million to agribusiness company BIDCO to support expansion of the company’s consumer goods operations into new market categories and create more opportunities for small farmers to enhance productivity and earn better incomes.

Factoring for farmers: financing challenges in the Caribbean
Factoring for farmers: financing challenges in the Caribbean
Hesham Zakai
16 July 2014

When considering challenges faced by farmers in the Caribbean – of which there are many – it is important to appreciate first the breadth of the region, says Niko Kluyver, general manager at FactorPlus.

How Brazil engaged capital markets in agri-financing
How Brazil engaged capital markets in agri-financing
Hesham Zakai
16 July 2014

With the vast ocean of financing required in African agriculture, banks alone – at least in the current climate – are insufficient. The same was true of Brazil and the agricultural sector in the early nineties, paving the way for the introduction of the capital markets into the commodities sphere there.

Weather data pilots struggle to survive
Weather data pilots struggle to survive
Helen Castell
16 July 2014

Most weather-index insurance pilot projects in Africa fail within three years because of inadequate budgets that don’t allow for scale, weather-station maintenance or training, according to Bernard Pacher, CEO of ADCON Telemetry.

Trafigura launches India’s first online refined metal retail platform
Trafigura launches India’s first online refined metal retail platform
Jonathan Bell
16 July 2014

Commodity trader Trafigura, has today launched India’s first online refined metal retail platform – known as Lykos.

Equity Foundation targets "missing middle" with agri business skills
Equity Foundation targets "missing middle" with agri business skills
Helen Castell
15 July 2014

Equity Group Foundation is targeting Kenya’s under-served mid-sized farmers with a new training programme that seeks to provide them with key business skills. The programme aims to unlock unused agricultural land to improve not only farmers’ livelihoods but the country’s food security, the Fin4Ag conference heard Tuesday (July 15).

Warehousing and mobile payments key to creating intra-African trade corridors for agriculture
Warehousing and mobile payments key to creating intra-African trade corridors for agriculture
Helen Castell
15 July 2014

Developing internal trade corridors for agriculture in Africa and removing obstacles to formal trade will help farmers benefit from rapidly rising food demand in African cities, the Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi heard Tuesday (July 15). Tools like warehouse finance can support that process.

Entrepreneurs in Africa plug into new technologies
Entrepreneurs in Africa plug into new technologies
Hesham Zakai
15 July 2014

Key innovations and technologies are helping to drive change across Africa’s agricultural value chains, from mobile payment systems to centralised information registries.

Jean-Louis Ekra highlights Afrexim’s crucial role in value-added agri projects
Jean-Louis Ekra highlights Afrexim’s crucial role in value-added agri projects
Jonathan Bell
15 July 2014

“Africa requires $21 billion over the next 10 years to fill the finance gap in agricultural financing,” remarks Jean-Louis Ekra, president of African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) during the ‘Best practices in agri-value chain finance’ session at the Fin4Ag Conference in Nairobi today.

African Continental Briefing: Building trust and private-sector empowerment is key
African Continental Briefing: Building trust and private-sector empowerment is key
Helen Castell
14 July 2014

At the 2nd African Continental Briefing at the Fin4Ag conference in Nairobi, participants discussed how to strengthen value chains, build trust and help the public sector empower private players to finance farmers.

Syfaah system to be rolled out in LatAm and Africa
Syfaah system to be rolled out in LatAm and Africa
Helen Castell
9 July 2014

Haiti has found itself at the forefront of agricultural microfinance with an initiative that is shaking up misconceptions about the bankability of smallholder famers and will soon also be launched in Latin America (LatAm) and Africa.

Protection for a price – crop insurance takes root
Protection for a price – crop insurance takes root
Helen Castell
9 July 2014

Despite having nearly 20% of the world’s cultivated land, Africa’s share of the global agricultural market measured by insurance premiums paid is smaller than 1%, according to Jean-Christophe Debar, director of the Foundation for World Agriculture and Rurality (FARM). Latin America is better “but still under-developed”.

Livestock – more than a commodity
Livestock – more than a commodity
Helen Castell
8 July 2014

Value chains like livestock and dairy face a unique set of challenges, giving them a reputation as being higher risk than those for soft commodities like grains.

Croatian food producer secures EBRD-led A/B loan
Croatian food producer secures EBRD-led A/B loan
Jonathan Bell
8 July 2014

Croatian food and pharmaceutical producer Podravka has secured a loan of €73.4 million ($99.9 million) through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and a syndicate of international banks

Official launch of East Africa Exchange gives agri-trade a boost
Official launch of East Africa Exchange gives agri-trade a boost
Jonathan Bell
7 July 2014

In a landmark development for agri-trade in Eastern Africa, the commodity-focused East Africa Exchange (EAX) has been officially launched. The regional commodity exchange has been created to increase access in the region’s commodity markets.

Agriculture gets its Act together
Agriculture gets its Act together
Helen Castell
7 July 2014

Governments in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have a huge responsibility to support agriculture, which in many cases employs more than half the population and is a foundation for the economy.

Traders – the strongest link
Traders – the strongest link
Helen Castell
7 July 2014

The love affair between banks and traders is sometimes resented by producers, who struggle to access bank finance directly. But traders are the arteries and veins of agricultural finance, helping money flow right across the value chain, adding value with processing plants, and supporting smallholders with technical assistance.

Innovative thinking helps close credit data gap
Innovative thinking helps close credit data gap
Helen Castell
7 July 2014

One of the biggest challenges small farmers face when they try to access finance is that they are an unknown risk. More farmers in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have a mobile phone than a bank account, and even when they have tapped credit, it tends to be in a non-traditional form that passes through the net of mainstream credit data collection.

Warehouse receipt finance comes of age
Warehouse receipt finance comes of age
Helen Castell
7 July 2014

Warehouse receipt finance is spreading fast, giving smaller traders and bigger farmers or cooperatives the chance to tap finance immediately while they protect their produce and hopefully negotiate better prices for it.

Funds fill gaps in the value chain
Funds fill gaps in the value chain
Helen Castell
6 July 2014

Development finance institutions (DFIs) have of course always led the charge in sweetening deals in emerging markets – using their own liquidity, quasi-sovereign rating or willingness to lend for longer tenors as a way to attract banks to the table. But now the DFIs are experimenting with new strategies and structures to get funding to the small farmers and traders who need it most.

African banks on the rise
African banks on the rise
Helen Castell
4 July 2014

African banks are taking the lead in financing the continent’s farmers, traders and soft commodities. With more local money in the system, they are also reaching further down the value chain, though still find financing farmers directly a challenge. At the same time, international banks are snapping up stakes in local players, hoping to piggy-back on their distribution network and on-the-ground expertise.

Gazprom Export appoints new director general
Gazprom Export appoints new director general
Jonathan Bell
2 July 2014

Gazprom Export has appointed Elena Burmistrova as its new director general. Burmistrova started her career at Glencore International (Switzerland) in 1992, then worked for various international companies.Between 2003 and 2006 she was deputy director of Spetsgaz, Gazprom Export.

Ghana’s Cocobod sets the standard
Ghana’s Cocobod sets the standard
Helen Castell
1 July 2014

Now in its 21st year, the annual pre-export financing of Ghana’s cocoa harvest is an example of how African agriculture really can attract big international banks – and increasingly cheaply – given the right mix of government involvement, industry organisation and deal structure.

Back to BASIX
Back to BASIX
Helen Castell
1 July 2014

India’s microfinance industry has been through the mill in recent years. One microfinance institution (MFI) that has also faced its share of problems – but has weathered them better than many – is BASIX.

Value-added improves prospects for Pacific Islands agri
Value-added improves prospects for Pacific Islands agri
Helen Castell
1 July 2014

Agriculture forms the backbone of many economies in the Pacific Islands. Despite their geographic remoteness, a handful of islands are quietly building burgeoning export industries in commodities such as cocoa, coffee and sugar and, in the case of Papua New Guinea (PNG), a value-added tuna canning industry.

JB's weekly round up - 30 June 2014
JB's weekly round up - 30 June 2014
Jonathan Bell
30 June 2014

The last few weeks has seen banks flocking to be part of the $2.65 billion revolving credit facility (RCF) signed last week by energy trading company Mercuria Energy.

Mercuria sees heavy oversubscription on RCF
Mercuria sees heavy oversubscription on RCF
Jonathan Bell
27 June 2014

Swiss-headquartered, energy trading company Mercuria Energy has signeda $2.65 billion revolving credit facility (RCF), with the oversubscription on the initial launch amount.

Rusal refinancing arrangement may need legal push
Rusal refinancing arrangement may need legal push
Jonathan Bell
27 June 2014

Russian aluminium producer Rusal reports that it has made significant progress in reaching full agreement with its creditor group over the terms of refinancing of its pre-export finance (PXF) debt, although in order to finalise an agreement the company may now need to seek legal authority through the courts.

Tony Elumelu: Vision for Africa
Tony Elumelu: Vision for Africa
Helen Castell
26 June 2014

Tony Elumelu is chairman of Nigeria-based investment company Heirs Holdings and conglomerate Transcorp. He is also founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that supports entrepeneurship across Africa.

Kenyan horticulture gets boost through Proparco funds
Kenyan horticulture gets boost through Proparco funds
Jonathan Bell
26 June 2014

Sustainable horticultural production in Kenya has received a boost with new funding from development finance institution Proparco.

KfW finances flow of iron ore from Canada
KfW finances flow of iron ore from Canada
Hesham Zakai
25 June 2014

German export credit agency KfW IPEX - Bank is providing finance for the supply of raw materials into Germany and the rest of Europe in the form of a $100 million loan for the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC).

Ukrainian poultry producer MHP secures loan from IFC
Ukrainian poultry producer MHP secures loan from IFC
Jonathan Bell
24 June 2014

IFC is providing debt financing of up to $250 million to Ukrainian poultry producer Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP). The loan will be used to help the company expand its production and supply chain. to expand leading which employs over 30,000 people, and to develop Ukraine’s agribusiness sector, a key driver for the economy.

Uralkali signs debut unsecured club facility
Uralkali signs debut unsecured club facility
Jonathan Bell
20 June 2014

Russian potash producer has signed a $450 million, unsecured club loan with five international banks.