The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has announced that it is to lend US$25m to the USA's Animex group to improve the financing and efficiency of its Polish meat-processing operations. The loan is part of a package arranged by Rabobank Polska, which will provide financing of US$50m, while the BRE Bank lends US$25m. Animex's majority shareholder is Smithfield Foods, Inc., the leading producer of fresh pork and processed meats in the United States.

Meanwhile the EBRD is investing in the development of the Russian dairy industry through a US$21m purchase of a minority stake in Danone Industria OOO, the second-largest dairy company in Russia. The idea is that the firm will be helped to meet the growing demand for quality fresh dairy products in Russia and in turn encourage the restructuring of Russian agriculture, by providing stable payments for supplies, financing and know-how to farmers.