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Sofitex of Burkina Faso Gets $151 Million Cotton-Crop Loan

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Societe Burkinabe des Fibres Textiles, the biggest cotton company in Burkina Faso, got a loan of 77 billion CFA francs ($151 million) to finance crop purchases in the 2011-2012 harvest, said Chief Executive Officer Jean Paul Sawadogo.

The credit from 10 local lenders will allow for “the rapid payment of producers,” he said today after signing the deal in Ouagadougou, the capital. It’s an increase of 7 percent over the previous season’s loan, according to Roger Dah-Achinanon, managing director of Ecobank Transnational Inc.’s Burkinabe unit, one of the banks that took part in the facility.

Burkina Faso, which vies with neigboring Mali as Africa’s biggest cotton producer, said in April it would pay farmers 245 francs for a kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the fiber.

Sofitex, as the company is known, starting buying cotton last month. The company’s cotton-seed production will rise 5 percent to 300,000 metric tons in the 2011-2012 harvest, Sawadogo said.

Sofitex has repaid about 75 percent of last season’s loan, said Dah-Achinanon. United Bank for Africa Plc’s Banque Internationale du Burkina, Societe Generale SA’s unit, Bank of Africa Burkina Faso, Groupe Banque Atlantique, Coris Bank International and Banque Sahelo Saharienne pour l’Investissement et le Commerce are among the lenders taking part, he said.

The company will sign a loan deal with international banks on Jan. 27 in Paris, said Helene Traore, spokeswoman for Sofitex.

To contact the reporter on this story: Simon Gongo in Ouagadougou via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Emily Bowers at ebowers1@bloomberg.net

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