€6.5 million to develop modern retail format and logistics platform
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the expansion of Viva Fresh, a leading retailer in Kosovo, with financing of €6.5 million for efficiency improvements, modernisation and new store roll-out.
This funding is being extended jointly by the EBRD and the Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF), a €48.5 million fund supporting established small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with high-growth potential in the Western Balkans. The ENEF works in cooperation with the EBRD to assess and approve projects.
The EBRD is also an investor in the fund, together with the European Investment Fund, the European Union (EU), the German Development Bank, the Development Bank of Austria and the Government of Italy. The ENEF is part of a larger SME platform, the Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (EDIF), established jointly by the EBRD, the EU and the European Investment Bank Group.
The financing is being allocated for the construction of a modern logistics centre, to support Viva Fresh’s growing network of retail stores, and for the opening of six new stores across Kosovo, where demand for modern, retail-format supermarkets is growing.
“This transaction reinforces the EBRD’s commitment to strengthen the private sector in Kosovo. We are pleased to be working with a strong local market brand and to support its modern retail model to meet the needs of today’s consumer in Kosovo,” said EBRD First Vice President and Chief Operating Office, Phil Bennett.
Holger Muent, EBRD Director for Western Balkans, said: “This is the first joint project between the EBRD and the ENEF. We are glad to be able to diversify funding sources available to local private companies in the Western Balkans by bringing along the ENEF to co-invest alongside the EBRD. We are very proud to have Viva Fresh, a leading domestic retailer, to be our first project co-financed with the ENEF in the entire region.”
“We’re pleased to be working with the EBRD to pioneer further growth and development of the retail market in Kosovo and beyond in the Western Balkans. We believe that, as a result of this project, we will be able to improve our services and increase our market share, catering to consumers’ choice of a more modern retail format,” said Viva Fresh President, Xhevdet Rexhepi.
The EBRD began investing in Kosovo in 1999. To date, the EBRD has signed 39 projects in the country with a net cumulative business volume of more than €124 million. Kosovo became a member and an EBRD country of operations in December 2012.