Cosucra receives €10m to meet chicory root and pea protein demand

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: COSUCRA, Pea protein, chicory root

Chicory root producers Cosucra are to receive a financial boost to the tune of €10m from a consortium of backers in response to consumer demands for a more balanced, plant-based and transparent diet.

In a press event last week, it was revealed the Regional Investment Company of Wallonia (SRIW), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Sofiprotéol, would invest the finance in a Cosucra bond issue.

Cosucra said the investment would enable ‘improvements to the performance of its industrial equipment and increase its production volumes.’

“We are particularly pleased with the spirit in which the discussions took place, taking the interests of all parties into account,”​ comments Cosucra CEO Jacques Crahay.

“Indeed, beyond securing financial resources, we wanted to engage with our partners to share experiences and improve the business project from a sustainability perspective.

“This support strengthens our determination to continue our mission tirelessly, continually adapting to our two main stakeholders: farmers and the food industry.”

The Belgium-based firm becomes the first organisation to receive this loan as part of a scheme set up in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, SRIW received the backing of the EIB in order to cope with increased interest in the investor’s activities, which is to invest in the equity of unlisted companies via a share purchase, increasing business capital, subscription to a bond issue, or by granting subordinated or convertible loans.

Key Sofiprotéol role

Key to Cosucra’s financing is the role of Sofiprotéol, an investment firm and subsidiary of the Avril Group, which looks to invest primarily in the food and agribusiness sectors.

“We are happy to support COSUCRA, a leading player on the natural chicory and pea ingredients market,”​ says Xavier Dorchies, Sofiprotéol’s Chief Operating Officer.

“This investment is fully in line with Sofiprotéol’s commitments to support the agricultural, food and environmental transitions, and with Avril Group's purpose: serving the earth.”

Sébastien Durieux Vice-President of SRIW , which has supported Cosucra’s projects for over 15 years, described the firm as ‘a model of resilience and ambition,’​ adding, “We must recall the strategic shift made in the 2000s with the abandonment of sugar activities to concentrate on the extraction of ingredients first from chicory and then peas.

“We are pleased to be able to continue to support its teams with their development projects offering substantial possibilities in fast-growing markets,”​ Durieux says.

“With its natural ingredients, COSUCRA is particularly well positioned to meet the needs of consumers and the underlying trends in the agri-food sector — such as clean labels and plant-based products — particularly with the booming demand for alternatives to animal proteins.”

The investment is expected to create around 20 jobs within three years, with the financing going towards Cosucra’s corporate social responsibility performance based on social and environmental priorities.

The form adds that the financing will also contribute to processing agricultural raw materials produced close to its industrial plants, adding to the development and structure of local and sustainable agricultural sectors.

‘Natural & sustainable ingredients’

“I congratulate the European Investment Bank (EIB), SRIW and Sofiprotéol on this joint investment that will enable Cosucra to continue its growth on the market for natural and sustainable ingredients,”​ comments Willy Borsus, Vice-President of Wallonia, Minister of Economy, Research and Innovation, Digital, Agriculture, Urbanism and Regional Planning, IFAPME and Centres of Expertise

“This unprecedented type of financing combining EU and Walloon funds will enable our companies to develop further, to grow, to branch out internationally and to create jobs.

“As a result, this product meets our ambition to support the 80 000 companies in our region and is also fully in line with the Wallonia Recovery Plan, which is squarely focused on business development.”

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