All agreed loans

Denmark. DLF Seeds

Date of agreement: 26 Sep 2019
Country: Denmark
Customer: DLF Seeds
Amount in DKK: DKK 125 million
Amount in EUR: EUR 17 million
Maturity: 5 years
NACE sector / loan type: Research and development


The loan is being provided for financing DLF Seeds R&D programme in 2018/2019–2019/2020. The focus of the programme is on improving technologies that increase quality and efficiency, speed up the breeding of sugar beet and eliminate disease. The programme is being carried out by DLF's sugar beet seed company MariboHilleshög, with approximately 270 employees, more than a third of whom work on R&D activities.

MariboHilleshög is actively working on several projects with universities aiming to improve disease control, map the genome and improving the technology in the seeding sector.

DLF Seeds is a global clover and grass seed company, operating in 22 countries and employing approximately 2000 people. As a market leader with a 50% market share in Europe and 30% worldwide, DLF provides products to more than 100 countries. The company is owned by a cooperative of Danish grass-seed farmers. DLF has its headquarters in Roskilde, Denmark.

Fulfilment of NIB's mandate


In 2017, DLF acquired MariboHilleshög (MH), the majority of whose R&D activities are concentrated in Denmark and Sweden. Currently, MH is the only provider of sugar beet breeding in NIB member states, and also the leading specialist in the Northern Hemisphere.

The sugar beet has been important in agriculture in NIB's member states for centuries. The rather cold climate limits the number of species available for food production. So, there is added value in having plant breeding and an R&D unit located in our member states.

Productivity growth in NIB member countries is dependent on investment in intangible assets such as expertise, knowledge and innovations. Successful innovation activities aimed at developing new products, services and processes with high added value create preconditions for boosting turnover, revenues, exports and employment. R&D helps turn ideas into successful products, which are then put into use by the industry and businesses. Moreover, knowledge spill-over across firms and industries is highly likely to benefit the whole economy.


The R&D is focused primarily on the yield of sugar beet. To maintain a steady growth in yield, a number of different properties in the sugar beet need to be selected for. The main issues are diseases and parasites. However, sugar beet is a crop that a needs large amounts of pesticides, fungicides, nutrients and water. The improvements derived from the R&D programme are positive, but in general, the environmental footprint of sugar beet crops remains high.

Sustainability summary

R&D into breeding sugar beet will be carried out in accordance with all required permits.