EBRD boosts support for private agribusiness companies in Serbia

By Axel  Reiserer

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The EBRD is stepping up its efforts to support private agribusiness companies in Serbia by providing up to €7mn funded risk sharing participation with Crédit Agricole Bank a.d. Novi Sad under the Warehouse Financing Framework for Serbia.

The proceeds will be used to finance seasonal working capital requirements of agribusinesses in Serbia using agricultural commodities stored in warehouses as security. This will facilitate private agribusinesses’ access to finance and thus support the expansion of a vital sector of the Serbian economy.

The project is the fifth under the Warehouse Receipt Framework for Serbia launched in 2010 and the first one which will be funded as opposed to previous unfunded risk-sharing facilities. The framework promotes the use of warehouse receipts for creating much-needed liquidity in the agribusiness sector.

The EBRD’s participation is providing interested banks with comfort and will demonstrate that lending against agricultural commodities is feasible. The Bank has long-standing experience in promoting warehouse receipt financing and launched similar programmes in Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Slovak Republic and Ukraine.

“Since the launch of the programme in Serbia in 2010 we have made very good progress”, said Matteo Patrone, EBRD Director for Serbia. “The new project with Crédit Agricole Bank will now deepen our support as it is the first funded facility and as such will increase the lending capacity of our partner bank by leveraging on our co-financing. As a result together with our partners we will better address the funding constraints of local agribusiness companies.”

Crédit Agricole Bank a.d. Novi Sad is a fully-owned subsidiary of the French Crédit Agricole Group and focused on financing individual farms and agribusiness companies. Serbia became a net food exporter in 2005 with a net trade surplus of $255mn. According to forecasts, Serbia’s annual agricultural exports could rise to €6bn by 2020.

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