ESTONIA – The European Investment Bank has approved a €29 million (US$30.21 million) loan to the largest cooperative-based dairy producer in Estonia, E-Piim Tootmine to help it expand its processing capacity.
E-Piim Tootmin’s proposed investment has a total project cost of around €154 million will partially replace some aging manufacturing facilities and expand significantly the existing production capacity.
The new plant, located in Paide, Estonia will be the cooperative’s fourth and will process milk from its cooperative members into high value-added dairy products such as hard and semi-hard cheese (gouda and cheddar) and pasteurized cream.
Additionally, the fourth plant will process up to 1 150 tonnes per day of milk and also produce sweet whey powder from its own activity, having an 85 tonnes per day of whey concentrate.
According to Jaanus Murakas, Manager of E-Piim, the production of 33,000 tons of different cheeses and 30,000 tons of whey powder per year in the Paide factory will all be directed to export.
The company also plans to invest in sustainable agriculture through the Zero Net Carbon program targeting a reduction of emissions by 55% by 2030, including with its milk suppliers.
E-Piim CEO Jaanus Murakas said: “E-Piim’s new dairy factory being built in Paide is an important project for the country. This new dairy plant will cover Estonia’s missing raw milk processing capacity, strengthen Estonia’s dairy sector and Estonian dairy products’ competitiveness in the world market and enrich Estonian rural life.
The new factory will be the most modern in our region and enable us to meet our environmental targets. E-Piim is proud that the EIB considered our project important to finance and we can now implement a nationally important project with the EIB’s support.”
The new factory will be a two-story administrative building, production premises as a single volume unit, and a seven-story section of the building for powder production. The plant will occupy approximately a total closed gross surface area of 32,446.9 m2.
E-Piim is one of the largest cheese and butter producers and exporters in Estonia, owned by more than a hundred local dairy farmers.
In 2017, E-Piim received US$15.63 million worth of support from PRIA and in 2018, Interfood Holdings BV, invested US$15.63 million in the dairy processing plant of E-Piim and as a result, it acquired a 25 percent holding in E-Piim.
The current funding from EIB was made possible by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) which provides first-loss guarantees that enable the EIB Group to invest in riskier projects.
The projects and agreements approved for financing under EFSI have to date attracted investments totalling €546.5 billion and benefiting more than 1.4 million SMEs.
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