EBRD to Offer Pyatiorochka Supermarket Chain Loan of USD 36 Million

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is planning to offer Agrotorg (operator of Pyatiorochka supermarket chain) a loan of USD 36 million. As a Rosbalt correspondent was informed by EBRD Spokesman for Russia Richard Wallis today, the bank's board of directors approved the project on January 15 2003. However he could not say when the agreement on the loan would be signed.

The money will be used to buy more trading space for Pyatiorochka low-price supermarkets. The whole expansion programme will cost around USD 216 million. Pyatiorochka Public Relations Manager Sergei Moskvin declined to give any details of the deal. It is expected that the Agrotorg management will announce its investment programme at the beginning of April 2003.

Pyatiorochka supermarket chain was founded in 1999 by Agrotorg (Saint Petersburg). Agrotorg itself was established by the Red Star social organisation for invalids and is the operator of the Pyatiorochka supermarket chain. The company has not disclosed who the main shareholder of Agrotorg is. According to certain sources, the EBRD became one of the shareholders in 2003 by investing at least USD 10 million in the Pyatiorochka supermarket chain through a Russian fund (details of this deal have not been disclosed either). Company turnover in 2002 totaled USD 430 million and in 2003 it is expected to reach USD 700 million. There are currently 75 Pyatiorochka supermarkets in Saint Petersburg and 49 in Moscow.

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