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U.S. Small Business Uses Second OPIC Loan to Expand Dairy Facility in Georgia

May 8, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. small business will use a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to expand manufacturing operations at the largest producer of dairy and juice products in Georgia, establishing new milk collection centers, upgrading equipment for production lines, and improving its distribution network. The same business used a 2006 OPIC loan for a similar technology upgrade which benefited both the company and the dairy industry in Georgia.

 OPIC will provide a $10 million loan to Sante GMT for the expansion of its dairy manufacturing and juice packaging facility in Tbilisi. The company will use the loan to establish additional new milk collection centers, upgrade the distribution vehicle fleet, add equipment for production of premium butter, processed cheese, and bio-products, and a new packing line for juice packaging. The milk collection centers in particular will enable the company to produce a fuller range of dairy products utilizing all of the byproducts such as skimmed milk, fat and whey left from natural milk processing. Sante GMT is owned in part by five U.S. investors.

In November 2006, OPIC approved a $4 million loan for Sante GMT, proceeds of which were used to establish ten new milk collection centers – organized in towns where milk is delivered by farmers and sold directly to Sante GMT – and to add equipment and vehicles. Existing milk collection centers have generated income for around 1,000 families in different parts of Georgia. Expanding existing and adding new milk collection centers are expected to double the number of beneficiary families. Sante GMT is current on its obligations to OPIC.

“OPIC’s first loan to Sante GMT generated important advances for the dairy industry in Georgia, which are reflected in the project’s success,” said OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “OPIC is pleased to support the further growth of a company which is providing valuable developmental benefits to Georgia.”