EBRD invests in leading retailer in Montenegro

By Ina Coretchi

The EBRD is boosting competition in the Montenegrin retail sector with a loan to expand the supermarket network of one of the leading retailers in the country.

In its fourth transaction in the Montenegrin private sector, the Bank is providing a €4.2 million loan to Voli Trade, owner of Voli, a grocery retailer in Montenegro operating twelve stores in the capital Podgorica and in four other towns.

Despite the presence of several major players, the retail segment in Montenegro remains fragmented. With a market share of more than 10 per cent, Voli Trade is the leading grocery retailer and one of the best recognised brands in the country.

With the support of the EBRD loan Voli Trade will open two more stores outside Podgorica in 2010, strengthening further its market position.

“We are pleased to support a leading player in the Montenegrin retail sector, and one of the best companies in Montenegro, committed to providing quality products and services. This project will raise the competitiveness of Voli Trade, bringing modern retail experience to other towns of Montenegro. We believe that this is only the first step in the cooperation between the EBRD and Voli, which will grow in the future,” said Marek Lorinc, EBRD Head of Office in Montenegro.

Voli CEO, Dragan Bokan said: “This is an initial phase of the cooperation between the EBRD and Voli and it is particularly important due to the fact that it is implemented in a time of global financial crisis. The investment will be used to expand Voli’s retail and distribution network and strengthen its leading position in the country. The opening of new markets in the towns of Montenegro will provide modern concept of trade for the citizens, followed by competitive prices. Opening of new stores is of great importance for our society and for providing a number of new jobs.”

The loan to Voli Trade is arranged under the EBRD–Italy Local Enterprise Facility, established to support economies in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey and Serbia through the provision of financing to small and medium-sized local enterprises.

To date the EBRD has directly committed more than €5 billion in the agribusiness sector in central and eastern Europe and the CIS.