By Olga Rosca
29 Dec 2014
Food retail chain to open new stores, warehouse and logistics centre
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a US$ 5 million equivalent loan in Moldovan lei to support the expansion of Moldova’s fast-growing food retail chain Unimarket Discounter SRL (Unimarket).
Established in 2010, Unimarket operates a network of 35 small discount supermarkets, most of them in the capital Chisinau. Having secured a strong market position there, the company now aims to expand in the country’s regions.
Its US$ 6.5 million investment plan includes the opening of 17 new shops both in Chisinau and smaller cities like Hîncești, Dondușeni, Drochia, Edineț and Soroca. The company also plans to set up a new warehouse and a logistics centre to service its retail network and improve cost efficiency.
“Unimarket has strong growth potential with significant opportunities in particular outside the capital city. While customers in smaller cities are looking to switch from traditional open markets, Unimarket as a discount retailer is well positioned to seize these opportunities. The EBRD is pleased to support its expansion outside Chisinau where new shops will provide customers with the opportunity to shop for affordable food in convenient locations and will also boost the local economy and create jobs,” said Gilles Mettetal, EBRD Director for Agribusiness.
As part of the investment programme, the company will spend €1 million for energy efficiency measures. The planned improvements will lead to 29 per cent electricity savings and an almost 100 per cent gas saving as well as an annual CO2 emissions reduction of 493 tonnes.
Supporting food retail chains, like Unimarket, is part of the EBRD’s efforts to boost agribusiness, an important sector in many countries where the Bank works.
To date, the EBRD has invested over €8.5 billion in more than 530 projects in the agribusiness sector across over 30 countries. The Bank’s involvement includes all activities throughout the production chain, from farming, processing and trading to food distribution, packaging and retail. The EBRD also plays a major role in developing the sector by supporting local and foreign corporate clients as well as micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
In Moldova, the Bank is the largest institutional investor. It focuses on supporting private sector activity, promoting European standards and regional integration and developing efficient and sustainable public utilities. To date, the EBRD has invested some €900 million in over 100 projects in the country.