Serbian agribusiness conglomerate MK Group has secured EUR45m (US$56.3m) in funding from The International Finance Corporation (IFC) in order to modernise and expand its production.

The long-term financing from the World Bank Group’s private sector lending arm will also be used to upgrade operations at meat producer and grain trader Carnex, which MK acquired in November, IFC said today (14 June).

“This loan will support inclusive economic development in the country by expanding MK’s reach to small farmers,” said IFC’s director for manufacturing, agribusiness and services for Europe, Middle East and North Africa Guy Ellena.

The loan agreement, to be signed in Belgrade tomorrow, will help Serbia increase its food production and exports, in a country where agriculture accounts for around a fifth of economic output, the lender said.

“This loan demonstrates the confidence of one of the world’s leading financial institutions in our business strategy,” said Miodrag Kostic, president of MK Group. “It will help us integrate Carnex, improve our farming operations and extend our network of local primary producers.”