The EBRD plans to raise standards and boost competition in the Albanian retail sector with credits worth €24 million to build the country’s biggest shopping centre.
The proceeds of the loan will help Tirana East Gate, a wholly owned subsidiary of one of the leading real estate companies in Albania, Mane TCI, an affiliate of Balkan Finance Investment Group (Balfin), to develop and construct a modern family-oriented retail and entertainment centre in Lundër, Farka County, 5 km south-east of Tirana.
With a leasable area of 39,000 square meters, as well as parking spaces for over 1600 cars, the new shopping centre will be the largest western-style mall in Albania.
Addressing the high demand for modern shopping centres, this project will generate greater competition and promote high-quality standards in the Albanian retail sector. Construction of the new mall will also create new jobs and contribute to modernisation of Tirana’s suburban area.
The EBRD financing consists of a €17 million senior loan and a mezzanine loan of €7 million, which will strengthen the capital structure of the project and support the Albanian retail sector in the current crisis time, where the availability of long term financing is scarce.
“We are pleased to support the development of modern retail facilities in Albania. The East Gate shopping mall will bring a new, higher-quality shopping experience and help transform Tirana’s suburbs into modern hubs. This transaction also proves that the Albanian commercial infrastructure sector is robust and able to accommodate innovative financing tools in the current tight credit market”, said Sylvia Gansser-Potts, Director of the Property & Tourism Team at the EBRD.
“We appreciate the EBRD’s commitment to the project and to the company, and are proud to continue our successful relationship with the Bank. Being able to raise financing and attract investors is a great feat in the current economic climate. The Albanian retail market is still in its infancy, and we are very excited about bringing more new brands to the consumers of Albania. Tirana East Gate will be bigger and better than our main shopping centre QTU, currently the market leader in the country”, said Samir Mane, President and CEO of the Balfin Group.
Since the beginning of its operations in Albania the EBRD has committed €450 million in more than 30 projects in infrastructure, corporate, energy and financial sectors, which attracted additional investments of €945 million.