Agricost to invest over EUR 20 million in ferries across Danube and a lucerne dehydration plant

Aurel Dragan 03/06/2019 | 12:15

Two new generation ferries for crossing the Danube between Braila and the Big Island of Braila have been commissioned by Agricost, and among the future projects are the establishment of collection centers for production in the area, as Constantin Duluţe, former farm administrator and minority shareholder, told Agerpres.

“We have already put them into production – two ferryboats for the passage of the Danube, which will provide better conditions. There will be two ferries for pedestrians and cars, much larger than the current ones with double capacity,” said Dulute.

According to him, the two ferries cost EUR 3 million and will be built at a company in Braila. One of the ferries will be operational in the autumn of this year and the second in the spring of 2020.

Asked about future investments to be made by Agricost, the businessman mentioned a lucerne dehydration plant – an investment of EUR 18 million – and the extension of the port of loading.

“Other investment for farm development: we are making a lucerne dehydration plant, which means about EUR 18 million, we want to increase the port for loading because it is small. Equipment – we want to change almost all machines, almost the whole range of more efficient machines. Of course, when I made the deal (the sale of Agricost) my understanding (with the buyer, the Al Dahra company in the United Arab Emirates) was that in the next 5 years we will invest USD 500 million. This year we are at 70 percent, by the end of the year it is possible to reach 100 percent and we try to find solutions to increase the value of the added production,” explained Dulute.

According to the former administratpr, Agricost’s shareholders’ investment plan includes further integrated development.

“There are discussions, different plans, but it is not yet materialized. The production of barley or zootechnics, we shall see what is more profitable for us. The Arabs are good partners and I am pleased with the partnership with them, they kept their word in everything they said, as they did not come to take money, but to bring in money, which is a big thing. Usually, when they come, everyone wants to take money,” said Dulute, adding that in the Galati-Braila area there are only a few lands bought by foreigners and in this period there are no transactions.

Regarding the sources of financing, the shareholder of the Big Island of Braila Island has pointed out that so far no money has been borrowed from banks for the investments that have been made, but where necessary, all sources involved in a market economy.

“Until this moment we did not take money from the banks, but if we need a very large program, we will surely resort to different sources of financing, our own sources, attracted sources, partners. We have 42,000 hectares and we are still working to implement another 15,000 hectares because it is a droughty area,” added Dulute.

On Thursday, May 30, the company organized the Agricost Open Day in the Big Island of Braila, an occasion with which thousands of farmers visited the largest vegetable farm in Europe. Attending the event, Khadim Abdulla Aldarei, vice president of Al Dahra Holding, assured that development in the Big Island of Braila will be visible over time.

“The development of the Big Island of Braila will be visible in time, and one of the measures to be taken by Agricostar – we have bought two ferries for the passage of the last generation of Danube where people can stay when it is winter or summer to ensure the community good, and we set up a small annual fund of EUR 500,000 dedicated to the community, for culture, education, sports, hospitals, “said Khadim Abdulla Aldarei.

Last year, SC Agricost was taken over by Al Dahra Agriculture in the United Arab Emirates, with the Competition Council authorizing the transaction in July 2018. Al Dahra Agriculture in the United Arab Emirates is active in the production and retail of flowers and natural plants, seedlings for plants and trees, natural fertilizers and materials for the rehabilitation of agricultural land, etc.

According to the data published by the Ministry of Public Finance (MFP) in 2018, the company in Braila County had a net turnover of RON 375.39 million, up 4.5 percent over the previous year, registering a net profit of RON 80.2 million.

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