The EBRD is supporting the Croatian economy with a €100 million financing package to Privredna banka Zagreb (PBZ) to finance small businesses and Croatian exporters.
The package provided by the EBRD includes a €50 million loan for on-lending to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), which will ensure a continuous flow of credits to businesses in Croatia. Privredna banka Zagreb will use this funds to finance activities of SMEs currently facing limited access to lending due to the financial crisis.
This loan to PBZ, member of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, is one of a series of loans planned by the EBRD to systemically important financial institutions in Croatia.
In addition the EBRD is providing to Privredna banka Zagreb a €50 million trade finance facility, from the EBRD's Trade Facilitation Programme. The funds will be used to support Croatian exporters through pre-export financing, post-export financing, financing of working capital needed to conclude foreign trade contracts, and other facilities. The first transaction under the programme is already agreed upon.
“With this investment, the EBRD is working hand-in-hand with a long-standing partner in Croatia to make sure that private companies in the country have access to the financing they need to carry on their business, “ said EBRD First Vice President Varel Freeman.
The EBRD took part in the final stage of PBZ’s privatisation in 2002 and remains a minority shareholder with a 21 per cent stake.
"PBZ has a significant role in financing small and medium-sized businesses, and it has been participating for years in various programs supporting the development of Croatian exporters, as confirmed by those two agreements concluded with the EBRD," said PBZ’s CEO, Božo Prka.
The financing offered to PBZ is part of the joint response by International Financial Institutions to the crisis. In February this year, the EBRD, the World Bank Group and the European Investment Bank pledged support of €24.5 billion to SMEs via the banking system over the next two years.
The EBRD plans to increase its support for the financial sector by 50 percent this year with planned investments of €3 billion, targeted primarily at SMEs.
Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ) was founded in 1966 and has consistently been a leading financial institution in the Croatian market, with an established business base and a highly recognized national brand name. PBZ is a modern universal bank and the second largest banking group in Croatia. Today, PBZ is a member of one of the leading banking groups in Europe - Intesa Sanpaolo. In the past years PBZ Group recorded very good results and an upward tendency in the number of new clients so that it presently serves over 1.6 million retail and corporate clients. Its widespread network includes 230 branches covers the entire Croatian territory. Development of new products and substantial participation in the financing of economy and the development of small and medium-size enterprises lead to PBZ confirming its leading role in the field of new technologies.