EBRD extends trade finance facility to VTB Kazakhstan

By Sergiy Grytsenko

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its support to Kazakhstan’s exporters and importers with a new US$ 20 million trade finance guarantee facility to VTB Kazakhstan, a subsidiary of OJSC Bank VTB of Russia, to facilitate the financing of foreign trade at a time when lending to the real economy remains limited.

The EBRD facility will support VTB Kazakhstan in enhancing its trade finance services and will facilitate transactions with longer maturities.

“We expect that with the signing of this agreement VTB Kazakhstan will be able to support more importers and exporters in Kazakhstan and increase the volume of trade between Kazakhstan and other countries in the region”, said Rudolf Putz, Head of EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme.

Subsidiary Joint Stock Company VTB Kazakhstan is a member of VTB Group represented by banks and financial organizations in CIS countries, Europe, Asia and Africa. The bank obtained its banking license in May 2009 and opened its doors for clients in July 2009. VTB Kazakhstan is set to develop as a universal bank servicing both large corporate clients as well as small and medium sized businesses and retail customers.

The EBRD's Trade Facilitation Programme promotes foreign trade to, from and within the EBRD countries of operations, including Kazakhstan. Through the Programme, the Bank provides guarantees to international confirming banks, taking the political and commercial payment risk of international trade transactions undertaken by banks in the countries of operations.

According to the Trade Facilitation Programme’s 2010 annual results, Kazakhstan ranked second (after Russia) among all EBRD countries of operations in terms of the number of transactions, .

The EBRD’s current investment strategy for Kazakhstan has an immediate focus on supporting the corporate sector, addressing financing requirements arising from the economic crisis while also promoting economic diversification and innovation.

The Bank is also working with authorities and other international financial institutions to strengthen the country’s financial sector. The banking sector remains the key conduit for EBRD financing for small enterprises.

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested over €2.8 billion in over 130 projects in various sectors of the Kazakh economy, mobilising additional investments in excess of about €7 billion, with about 70 per cent of the projects’ being investments into the development of the country’s private sector.