Bolstering SME leasing in Serbia

By Axel  Reiserer

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The EBRD is providing a €20 million loan to SOGELEASE Srbija d.o.o for leases to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), for equipment, light commercial vehicles, trucks and trailers.

Leasing is an important source of long-term finance for SMEs and becomes especially important when access to loans remains scarce, as is the case for many Serbian small and medium businesses, especially in the south of the country. This is also a major obstacle to growth as SMEs form the backbone of the Serbian economy.

“We are pleased to sign this loan agreement with SOGELEASE Srbija today, as it will significantly strengthen the support for SMEs in the country. The provision of a long-term lending is critical for sound economic development and the creation of secure jobs”, said Matteo Patrone, EBRD Director, Serbia.

Developing the local leasing market is one way to widen availability of long- and medium term financing to SMEs. SOGELEASE Srbija, a fully-owned subsidiary of Societe Generale Bank Serbia, is planning to use the EBRD funds to proactively expand its business in this segment.

“With this loan SOGELEASE will offer financing under favorable and competitive market conditions. The loans will be used primarily to facilitate agricultural producers’ purchase of new equipment, light commercial vehicles as well as trucks and trailers”, added Boris Stevic, President of the Executive Board of SOGELEASE Srbija d.o.o.

At the same time, SME lending is also a key element of the EBRD’s activities. In the process of strengthening the economic recovery after the crisis, it is more important than ever to support local companies. The loan to SOGELEASE Srbija d.o.o is provided under the €30 billion Joint IFI Action Plan for Central and South Eastern Europe for 2013-2014.

To date the EBRD has invested €3.3 billion in some 170 projects in Serbia, throughout all sectors of the economy. Going forward, the EBRD will focus on the corporate, financial and infrastructure sector, as well as continue to play a crucial role in developing the transport, energy and municipal infrastructure in the country.

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