The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has raised a US$200m loan to support the roll-out of new stores by the privately-held Russian stores chain O'Key.

The loan will also enable the group to implement its investment plans quickly in order to increase market share in key areas of Russia and provide support for the group in less favourable market conditions.

To date, EBRD has invested nearly $2bn in over 50 agribusiness projects in Russia and the importance of modern retail projects such as O'Key's is that they impose high standards on the producers who want to supply them, Alain Pilloux, EBRD's business group director for Russia said.

Pilloux added that the bank welcomed the emergence of a supplier base in Russia's regions and would be actively prepared to support it.

The project, which has a total cost of $815m, will enable O'Key to implement its regional expansion strategy over the next three years.