The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is to lend €14m to a Czech subsidiary of French agri-business company Groupe Soufflet so it can expand its malting interests in the east European country. The money will enable Malterie Soufflet République Tchéque to acquire shares in Obchodní Sladovny, the malting subsidiary of Czech company Tchecomalt Group. The eastern Europe development bank favours Soufflet as it has been investing in Czech malt production to raise standards and reduce the reliance of the country's beer industry on imported ingredients.