The European Investment Bank (EIB) is granting a EUR 40m loan to the Sodiaal cooperative to help finance its research and development programme. The operation falls under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), also known as the Juncker Plan.
Sodiaal, the largest dairy cooperative in France and the third largest in Europe, has 20 000 members and processes 4.7 billion litres of milk in 70 industrial sites across France. It processes milk from its members to cover the entire dairy value chain: drinking milk/cream/butter, cheese, dairy ingredients and specialised nutrition. The R&D project supported by the EIB will involve a total of EUR 80m invested between 2018 and 2021.
“This financing illustrates our commitment to prioritise upscaling our product mix, in line with our #Value strategic transformation plan,” explained Sodiaal CEO Jorge Boucas. “It will enable us to develop our research and development activities for European and global markets, and will provide particular support to our new research centre in the heart of the Milk Valley in Rennes (Brittany).” The cooperative will centre its efforts on child nutrition, the utilisation of milk components, processing technologies and new ways to package food products, while simultaneously strengthening its partnerships with public and private sector research institutions.
“This investment from the EIB (the EU bank) reminds us that the EU has made innovation finance one of its priorities,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “The EU also wishes to commit itself fully to agricultural development to support both the sector itself and European consumers. After Roullier in 2018, Sodiaal is the second French company to receive EIB financing under the EUR 400m European agriculture and bioeconomy loan programme.”