The EBRD is launching its first ever credit facility to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects by private companies in Serbia. Under the new framework, the Bank will make loans to participating banks which will then provide credits to private firms.
The first loan of €10 million was signed with Banca Intesa Belgrade today.
The loan is part of the EU/EBRD Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Credit Line Facility, which is a wider joint programme of the EBRD and the European Commission to provide up to €60 million in loans to banks involved in lending for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, and Montenegro.
Promoting renewable energy projects and improving energy efficiency in Serbian businesses will help to mitigate the impact of climate change. The facility is complemented by €13.5 million of EU grant funding from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA)*, which will be used for incentives to kick-start investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Technical assistance to support end-borrowers to prepare eligible projects will be funded by the EBRD Western Balkans Multi-donor Fund, which has approved a EUR 2.5 million grant for this purpose.
The EBRD aims to help participating banks build up expertise in this area by combining its energy efficiency mandate and tailored technical consultant services within a commercially viable framework. The loans are expected to support Serbia’s efforts to overcome obstacles to investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that persist in the country.
Ambassador Lloveras, Head of the Delegation of the European Commission to Serbia, welcomed the excellent co-operation between the EU and the EBRD for the benefit of Serbia. “We are launching a new product for energy efficiency in Serbia building on the excellent experience we had in similar projects together with the EBRD in Bulgaria and Romania. The European Union is the largest donor of assistance for political and economic reforms in Serbia, with over €2 billion provided in the last ten years. Out of this amount €1.3 billion have been contracted in over 2,300 individual economic and technical assistance projects”, Mr. Lloveras added.
EBRD Director for Serbia, Hildegard Gacek said “this facility is an important element of the Bank’s strategy in Serbia as it will increase investments in energy efficiency and at the same time support the Serbian banking sector. We are delighted that Banca Intesa is the first bank to join the EBRD and the EU in promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy initiatives in Serbia”, she added.
Draginja Đurić, CEO of Banca Intesa Belgrade, said “Banca Intesa is looking forward to implement the first project together with the EBRD, for the benefit of Serbian companies and of the Serbian economic growth. Energy saving is of particular interest to Banca Intesa Belgrade as it benefits the environment and general welfare, two of our main objectives we are focusing on as a responsible partner of the communities”, Ms. Đurić stated. Banca Intesa Belgrade is a leading commercial bank in Serbia and is part of the Intesa Sanpaolo group.
The new EU/EBRD Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Credit Line is expected to replicate the successes already achieved with similar arrangements in Bulgaria and Romania.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Serbia, with €1.42 billion committed to 81 projects across the country. Working with its many partners, the Bank has mobilized more than €3.1 billion for projects in Serbia.
*The IPA programme is the main channel for the EU’s financial and technical cooperation with pre-accession countries. For further information, see: http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/lvb/e50020.htm