In its first private sector transaction in Serbia’s transport sector, the EBRD is providing a €2.8 million loan for the construction of a factory for manufacturing rail track parts.
This finance is being extended to the Serbian Track Experts d.o.o , a joint-venture set up by the construction company Porr Bau GmbH and Maba Track Solutions GmbH, a specialised producer of pre-stressed concrete sleepers, both based in Austria.
The proceeds of the EBRD loan will be used to build a factory to produce pre-stressed concrete rail sleepers – one of the core components of rail tracks. Traditionally sleepers were made of wood, but due to both sustainability and performance issues, concrete sleepers are increasingly being used in Europe.
The facility will be located in the city of Svilajnac, 100 km south of Belgrade, and will serve the rail industry both in Serbia and neighbouring countries.
The project will meet the growing demand for track components as countries in the Western Balkans have embarked on large investment programmes for the rehabilitation and modernisation of their rail networks.
“The EBRD is pleased to support this innovative project. The new factory will lead to the development of new products and skills in Serbia and will underpin the advancement of important rail infrastructure modernisation in the region,” said Sue Barrett, EBRD Director for Transport.
Porr Bau CEO Karl-Heinz Strauss commented: “Following on from the many rail projects we have successfully realised in Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and hopefully soon in FYR Macedonia, this new plant will accelerate the extension of Corridor X on the Trans-European network. I am delighted about this cooperation with an international financial institution such as the EBRD, whose top priority is the economic development of the region”.
Since the beginning of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has committed around €2.9 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, with a total value of some €6 billion.