- EBRD loan of up to €100 million to Erste Bank Croatia
- Long-term financing for tourism companies in Croatia and Montenegro
- Promoting employment among young, women and backward linkages to local suppliers
The EBRD is boosting the tourism sector in Croatia and Montenegro with a senior loan of up to €100 million to Erste Bank Croatia (EBC) for on-lending to private hospitality enterprises to expand their businesses through sustainable investments in hotels and other tourism operations.
Erste Bank Croatia will be the first financial institution to receive a loan under the EBRD Inclusive Tourism Framework for the Eastern Mediterranean region. The framework presents a holistic approach to tourism financing, focusing on a wider, faster and more systemic impact on tourism and related sectors.
The framework and the loan to EBC aims to: improve employment opportunities for young people and women by training young people and establishing new or substantially enhanced cooperation programmes with local universities or vocational schools, and by mainstreaming equal opportunity practices and policies; and strengthen the development of backward linkages to local suppliers in the hospitality sector by coordinating relevant stakeholders. These aims are essential for developing better local value chains and for deeper integration of local farmers in Croatia and Montenegro.
The landmark transaction was signed by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti during a visit to Zagreb today. He said: “We are delighted to provide much-needed capital for the sustainable growth and further development of the tourism sector in Croatia and Montenegro. Tourism is a major driver of growth in both countries and we expect this investment to open up new opportunities for local businesses as well as create new jobs. It demonstrates how our new framework will enable the EBRD to reach out to more clients, including smaller ones.”
Christoph Schoefboeck, President of the Management Board of EBC, said: “We are very pleased to become the first partner bank under the EBRD Inclusive Tourism Framework for the Eastern Mediterranean and we look forward to continuing and further deepening the longstanding and successful cooperation between our two institutions. Support for tourism is one of our fundamental strategic determinants and we believe that through this credit facility we will enable our clients to realise numerous successful projects in this segment, which will enable them to further strengthen and position themselves in the domestic as well as international markets.”
EBC is the third-largest bank in Croatia (with around a 15 per cent market share) and operates through a network of 128 branches in Croatia. Its subsidiary in Montenegro, Erste Bank AD. Podgorica, operates through a network of 17 branches. The bank is a longstanding partner of the EBRD with joint commitments including a micro and small business loan, a credit line under the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Finance Framework (WeBSEFF), participation in the EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme and the EBRD’s participation in a kuna-denominated bond issued by EBC.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €3.88 billion in Croatia in 215 projects. The Bank’s activities cover all areas of the economy but are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors. The EBRD is also engaged in policy dialogue, capital market development and regulatory reform in the country.