EBRD increases support for leasing in BiH

By Axel  Reiserer

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its efforts to support leasing operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a €5 million loan to Raiffeisen Leasing d.o.o. Sarajevo. The funds will be used to finance leases to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) for the acquisition of equipment, light vehicles, trucks and trailers, and production and warehouse real estate facilities.

The leasing sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains behind the EU average and progress has been affected by the financial crisis and its aftermath. This is particularly unhelpful for SMEs, which often lack access to capital investment funding and for which leasing represents an important alternative.

The development of the SME sector is critical to the structural transformation of the economy. The EBRD regards these companies as the backbone of any sound economy, with their unmatched record in job creation and innovation. However, since medium-term financing to SMEs is still not widely available, the EBRD has agreed to bridge this gap.

The EBRD’s President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said: “As leasing companies still suffer from a lack of long-term funding for SME leasing, international financial institutions are an important source of medium and long-term financing. Therefore, long-term funding by the EBRD in the area of leasing is fundamental for the continuation of the development of both the leasing sector and the broader private sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Belma Sekavić-Bandić, CEO of Raiffeisen Leasing d.o.o. Sarajevo, said: “RLBH is one of the leading companies in BiH for the development of leasing products and providing this kind of financing to domestic customers. With the support of EBRD funds we will be able to increase our support to SME clients with favourable financing conditions, and make our contribution to the improvement of the prosperity of the BiH economy.”

To date, the EBRD has invested more than €1.5 billion, in some 100 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a focus on infrastructure development, support for SMEs and strengthening the financial sector.