EMGA Secures US$ 20M Debt Finance for Costa Rica’s Banco Improsa

LONDON, Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP (EMGA) for the second time working with Banco Improsa, secures this US$20M facility from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) – AECID (advised by COFIDES).

Commenting on the transaction, Felix Alpizar, General Manager of BANCO IMPROSA, said: “Banco Improsa is very honored to be recognized by AECID and COFIDES for both its track record and programs to finance and support Costa Rican micro, small and medium–sized enterprises (MSMEs). With this credit we will continue our contribution to the economic and social development of the country.”

EMGA's Head of Investment Banking Sajeev Chakkalakal said, "A pleasure again to facilitate Banco Improsa's continued vision of supporting SMEs within Costa Rica and complete this funding solution with AECID (advised by COFIDES)."

Jos Luis Curbelo, chairman and CEO of COFIDES, stated that "we are pleased to support AECID in its first impact project with EMGA and IMPROSA in the Central American region. The transaction will be used to finance small and medium enterprises in Costa Rica, which will contribute to the creation and maintenance of quality jobs and reducing inequalities. We look forward to continuing these strategic partnerships, which enhance economic growth in developing countries by strengthening the private sector through sound financial support."

Carlos Jimnez Aguirre, General Manager of FONPRODE and Head AECID's Financial Cooperation Department expressed that "the formalization of this transaction reflects Spanish Cooperation's aims to contribute to expand the financial support for Costa Rican micro, small and medium–sized enterprises (MSMEs), as MSMEs play a key role in creating and maintaining decent jobs and reducing inequalities. Our intention is to expand this kind of support to other Central American countries in providing access to finance to MSMEs, with a special focus on mainstreaming gender and climate change strategies in private sector activities."

Emerging Markets Global Advisory LLP, based in London, helps emerging market based financial institutions and corporates seeking new debt or equity capital.

Banco Improsa was founded in 1995 and is a niche bank with a specialization in providing financial solutions and services to MSMEs, which account for most of its portfolio. It has an extensive track record in providing support and advisory services to MSMEs. Banco Improsa's key success factor lies in its commitment to high standards of personalized, agile, and flexible service, which, together with customized financial solutions, have enabled it to achieve a solid position in these segments. Banco Improsa is part of Grupo Financiero Improsa (GFI).

Fund for the Promotion of Development (FONPRODE), managed by Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) with the support of COFIDES (Spanish Development Finance Institution). AECID is the main management body of Spanish Cooperation and is oriented towards the fight against poverty and the promotion of sustainable development. COFIDES provides support management for FONPRODE with reimbursable financing operations that promote social and economic development of partner countries through investments or transfers of economic resources with a reimbursable nature. FONPRODE may finance non–reimbursable and reimbursable debt and equity. Examples of refundable financing offered by FONPRODE are loans to financial service providers aimed at financial inclusion.

COFIDES, a state–owned company engaging in the management of State and third–party as well as its own funds, pursues several aims; internationalization of Spain's economy, furtherance of economic development and fortification of the solvency of companies affected by COVID–19. In addition to the Spanish State, its shareholders include Banco Santander, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA), Banco Sabadell and Development Bank of Latin America (CAF).

Jeremy Dobson


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Conagen’s fermentation platform expands on promising novel forms of vitamin K2

Bedford, Mass., Oct. 31, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Biotech innovator, Conagen announced the development of its fermentation–derived vitamin K2 – a high–purity all–trans menaquinone–7 (MK–7). This is the first molecule from a proprietary platform for producing novel, pure, long–chain menaquinone forms of the vitamin. The platform enables low–cost manufacturing and yields high–quality products, making it attractive to health brands.

"Conagen's MK–7 technology produces a clean profile of the vitamin without other similar molecules, such as ubiquinone," said Casey Lippmeier, Ph.D., senior vice president of innovation at Conagen. "Our process allows us to make pure forms of any long–chain menaquinone, be it 6, 7, 8, 9, and these can be consumed in various combinations with other vitamins or with each other to make the most effective supplement possible. As the clinical evidence evolves, so can the supplement."

Vitamin K2 helps to regulate calcium mobility in bones and restricts calcium buildup in blood vessels, leading to stroke and heart disease. MK–7 is the more bioavailable form of K2 on the market; the other major form is MK–4, which both have taken a strong position in the markets for bone and cardiovascular health.

The biological activity of MK–7 is strictly linked to its all–trans configuration, which is naturally found in fermented superfoods such as natto. Cis–analogues are considered biologically inactive. Synthetic versions of MK–7 contain some amount of the cis–isomer form. Low–quality sources containing cis forms affect the efficacy of the vitamin.

Other long–chain forms of vitamin K2, such as MK–8 and MK–9, exist naturally in cheeses. Research on the health benefits of these other K2 forms has only begun to emerge.

Personalized nutrition is popular with consumers looking for technological breakthroughs in functional foods and nutrition. Conagen's cost–effective fermentation–derived MK–7 provides new opportunities for brands to develop products to meet the demand of the growing aging population.

"We're demonstrating our capabilities with innovative technologies that expand market choices in nutrition," said Lippmeier. "Our fermentation and bioconversion platforms have also produced the clean nutrient ergothioneine and the antioxidant taxifolin, further demonstrating the versatility of our platform technologies."

Conagen's research into the MK–7 production process was done in part as a 3–year collaboration with the lab of Prof. Anthony Sinskey at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Health brands interested in non–GMO, vegan vitamin K2 MK–4 and MK–7 and special ingredients, such as ErgoActive L–Ergothioneine and Taxifolin BC DHQ for nutrition and food and beverage preservation, respectively, can contact Blue California, a pipeline partner of Conagen. To inquire more about Conagen's products or partnerships, please visit www.conagen.com.


About Conagen

Conagen is a product–focused, synthetic biology R&D company with large–scale manufacturing service capabilities. Our scientists and engineers use the latest synthetic biology tools to develop high–quality, sustainable, nature–based products by precision fermentation and enzymatic bioconversion. We focus on the bioproduction of high–value ingredients for food, nutrition, flavors and fragrances, pharmaceutical, and renewable materials industries.


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