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French sugar group Cristal Union secures 1 billion euro refinancing

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Cristal Union is pictured during a media tour at the manufacturing factory in Villers-Faucon, France, October 14, 2021. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s second largest sugar and ethanol maker Cristal Union announced a 1.0 billion euros ($1.12 billion) refinancing agreement on Thursday which it said will give it some financial flexibility for its future projects.

The deal, signed on Tuesday, included 950 million euros under syndicated loans, 30 million euros in Impact bonds (IBs) issued by Cristal Union and 30 million in equity loans by French agri-food investment group Unigrains, it said.

The cooperative group is thereby anticipating its refinancing by one year and strengthening its liquidity, Cristal Union Chief Executive Office Xavier Astolfi told Reuters.

“It will give the group some margin for maneuver. Some of this package could be used to finance future projects,” Astolfi, who was appointed to his new role earlier this month, said.

The banks involved in the deal were Credit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Bred, Societe Generale, Credit Industriel et Commercial (CIC), Banque Europeenne du Credit Mutuel (BECM), Commerzbank, Landesbank Saar and UniCredit.

The refinancing is linked to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, lower water consumption and organic farming, Cristal Union said in a statement.

France’s biggest sugar maker, Tereos, raised 350 million euros in 5-year senior unsecured notes earlier this month, which it said would be used to repay existing debt.

($1 = 0.8913 euros)

Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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