EBRD supports BiH retailer Bingo’s expansion

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD is supporting the expansion of Bingo, a local retailer in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a €17 million loan which will be invested to strengthen and increase the company’s market position. The programme is expected to boost local suppliers through increased demand for their goods and to benefit local customers through improved competition and the introduction of modern retail practices.

The EBRD funds will be used to finance two hypermarkets in Sarajevo and one in Banja Luka as well as the construction of energy-efficient cooling chambers in Mostar to set up a local fruit and vegetable supply chain. Currently, Bingo procures around 80 per cent of its products locally, with the remainder being imported, mainly from neighbouring countries and the region.

The new cooling chambers will not only strengthen the company’s ties with local suppliers and thus support the local economy. The installation of advanced cooling and refrigeration systems, heat recovery, energy management and automation and control systems will also lead to energy efficiency savings leading to a reduction of total carbon emissions of up to 5,900 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Founded in 1993 in Tuzla, today Bingo is one of the largest and most successful private companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina with 77 stores in both entities of the country. Bingo is well recognised and caters for a population that is increasingly price sensitive given the challenging economic environment. With almost 2,800 staff the company is also a major employer and a key investor in the country. The EBRD loan is part of a wider €29.6 million investment programme for 2013 and 2014 alone.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “We are pleased with the opportunity to support Bingo which we have known for many years as a strong, innovative and dynamic company. The further expansion of Bingo will strengthen economic and commercial ties throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina and contribute to the development of the local economy through the company’s vast domestic supplier base.”

Senad Dzambic, founder and CEO of Bingo, added: “Today’s signing marks a new highlight in our relationship with the EBRD which has been our strong and reliable partner for several years now. We especially value the Bank’s readiness to stand by us and support our ambitions in the current economic climate when access to finance remains difficult, especially when it comes to long-term funding.”

The EBRD supported Bingo with a €6.5 million loan in June 2010 for the company’s expansion and provided a €5.4 million facility in January 2012 for energy efficiency improvements. To date, the Bank has invested close to €1.5 billion in 100 projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a focus on infrastructure development, support for small and medium-sized enterprises and strengthening the financial sector.

In the agribusiness sector alone, the EBRD’s net cumulative commitments since 1991 have exceeded €7 billion in over 450 projects in its region of operations.