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EBRD investments reach record high in first half of 2011

By Anthony Williams

The EBRD financed 161 projects in the first six months of 2011, a record number for the first half of any year in the Bank’s 20-year history and a clear indication of the strong demand for EBRD funding throughout the 29-country region in which it invests.

In volume terms, the EBRD invested a record €3.5 billion in the first half of this year, up slightly from the same period in 2010. The EBRD invested in 154 projects in the first half of 2010.

The EBRD’s investment activities amounted to approximately €1 billion each in the areas of industry, commerce, and agribusiness; financial institutions; and power, energy, and natural resources. It invested approximately €600 million in transport and municipal infrastructure.

Energy efficiency and climate change-related investments reached €1.2 billion, an almost 50 per cent increase over the same period in 2010.

Commenting on the record level of investments, EBRD First Vice President Varel Freeman said: "The crisis is not over.  The private sector has significant unmatched demand for finance for restructuring and to support enterprise growth during the recovery period.”

“The EBRD is committed to supporting our region during this period,” Mr Freeman added. First half investments were targeted at the areas where financing is most acutely needed but are well balanced throughout the region, he said.

The Bank continued to place a high priority on its investments in the Western Balkans and its early transition countries, primarily the least advanced countries in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

In the Western Balkans, the Bank financed 23 projects, up by more than one-third compared with the first half of 2010. In the early transition countries the Bank invested in 51 projects, an increase of five compared with the same period in 2010.  Russia, attracting €1 billion of investment, remains the EBRD’s largest country of operations.

Mr Freeman said that the EBRD continued to face strong demand from its private sector clients, and is likely to finish the year with a total business volume approaching €9 billion.

 “The EBRD is committed to supporting the transition to a market economy in its existing countries of operations stretching from central Europe and the western Balkans to central Asia.  This support will not diminish as our shareholders consider the expansion of our activities to the southern and eastern Mediterranean area,” he said.

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