Efes Breweries International is expanding its operations in Moldova with the support of an US$18m loan.

The loan, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), will be used to modernise and expand the current production facility of Efes' subsidiary in Moldova, including the installation of the first industrial waste water treatment system at its Chisinau plant.

The investment follows strong demand for Efes products on the Moldovan market, the EBRD said today (3 November), with a key element of the modernisation the introduction of strict hygiene and quality standards.

The Vitanta brewery in Chisinau dates back 130 years and Efes Moldova has undertaken a modernisation programme in a bid to increase capacity to two million hectolitres this year.

EBRD president Thomas Mirow, who signed the agreement in Istanbul, said: "The loan for us is the logical continuation of a strong and successful partnership with one of the leading breweries in the region.

"The EBRD and Efes have been working together in many countries in eastern Europe and Central Asia and we look forward to extending this cooperation", Mirow added.

Alejandro Jimenez, CEO and chairman of the board of Efes Breweries International, said: "Efes has continually invested in Moldova in order to serve our consumers with the global standards of our group. We are very pleased to have the EBRD's support and see this as evidence of the significance the bank attributes to our role in the development of the economies where we invest."