The EBRD continues to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in south-eastern Europe at a time when recovery from the crisis is still uncertain.
The Bank has announced a new €30 million five-year senior loan to Banca Intesa Belgrade (BIB) intended for its private SME clients.
Majority-owned by the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, Banca Intesa Beograd (BIB) is the largest commercial bank in Serbia. SME lending is a particular strength of the bank. BIB’s main focus is on further improving its leading position in the Serbian banking sector and across all regions of the country; bolstering risk management procedures in relation to SMEs and ensuring continuing good portfolio quality.
“Ensuring favourable sources of financing for small and medium-sized enterprises through international credit lines is an additional confirmation of Banca Intesa’s strategic commitment to providing active contribution and incentive for the development of this segment of the domestic economy. Small and medium-sized businesses will be the key driver of Serbia’s economic recovery and the main vehicle of employment and export growth, which is why we need to offer them full support, especially in conditions of extended economic crisis and market changes which this sector is particularly susceptible to”, said Darko Popović, a member of the Executive Board and head of the Corporate Division of Banca Intesa.
Banca Intesa Belgrade has previous experience providing EBRD-financed credit lines to SMEs. In 2010, the EBRD provided another €30 million credit line to BIB for on-lending to SMEs. In 2009 the EBRD provided the bank with a €10 million credit line for financing energy efficiency investments undertaken by Serbian companies, topped up by €4 million the following year. In 2011, €10 million was extended for the support of SME competitiveness.
Earlier this month, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the EBRD announced a joint commitment to invest €30 billion in the financial and corporate sectors in central, eastern and southern-eastern Europe (CESEE), there the EBRD will focus especially on SEE, for 2013-14. The statement by the presidents of the three institutions said: “Restarting and consolidating growth is imperative as the economies strive to narrow the gap in living standards with the more mature markets of the EU.”
Since the beginning of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has invested over €3 billion in about 200 projects, mobilising about €4 billion for those projects from other sources of financing.