The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has invested ₹300 crore (about $37 million) in Crystal Crop Protection, an agrochemical and seeds company.
The investment from IFC and IFC Emerging Asia Fund (EAF) will allow Crystal Crop to boost farm productivity, reduce supply chain disruptions triggered by Covid-19, and set up a robust infrastructure for sustainable production of crop protection products. The IFC Emerging Asia Fund, launched in 2016, makes equity and equity-like investments across all sectors in emerging markets in Asia alongside IFC, the financial entity said in a statement.
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“This investment will further consolidate the company’s position in the Indian market and strengthen its commitment toward sustainable crop solutions to increase farm profitability of Indian farmers by leveraging R&D and technology. We remain committed to the highest standards of environmental, health and safety guidelines, and governance in all our operations.” said Ankur Aggarwal, Managing Director, Crystal Crop Protection Limited.
Commenting on IFC’s investment, Wendy Werner, India Country Head at IFC, said: “As India emerges from the Covid-19 crisis, the agriculture sector remains critical to green recovery. IFC’s investment will help improve access to sustainable, tailor-made agri-solutions benefiting millions of farmers.”
“Strengthening climate smart agribusiness is at the heart of our development mission in the country. We are confident this investment will bolster supply chains, encourage future investors and promote resilience in the sector,” she added.
The investment will also help the company improve its IT infrastructure and automation in its plants. Going forward, Crystal aims to grow double digit in crop protection chemicals and seeds by funding working capital requirements.
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The company recently launched a new business in agrochemical retail, Saffire Crop Science, to leverage technology to promote crops solutions and services, allowing farmers to access them more efficiently.
Partnerships and acquisition opportunities have been strategic steps for Crystal, with significant domestic acquisitions — nine acquisitions to date, with six in the last five years.
Ernst & Young LLP acted as the exclusive financial advisor to Crystal on transaction.