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EBRD supports the development of capital markets and SMEs in Morocco

By Nibal Zgheib

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has invested US$ 60 million in the debut Eurobond issue of the Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE).

On 20 November 2013 BMCE became the first private Moroccan issuer to take advantage of the international credit markets by launching an inaugural US$ 300 million Eurobond.

Accessing the Eurobond markets represents a major step for Moroccan corporations and financial institutions, and should contribute to diversifying their funding sources as well as increasing liquidity in the market.

By acting as an anchor investor in the issue the EBRD played an essential role in supporting BMCE during the placement of the bond.

In addition, BMCE will increase the aggregate size of its loan portfolio to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco by more than an equivalent amount to that invested by the EBRD.

Francis Malige, the EBRD’s Director for Financial Institutions, said: “The EBRD is delighted to support the first Eurobond by a Moroccan private issuer in what will become an important benchmark for future offerings. We hope that it will have a strong demonstration effect for other Moroccan banks and corporates, thereby creating a sustainable new source of funding for the market. The investment also benefits SMEs, which are crucial for the development of the Moroccan real economy.”

BMCE is the third-largest bank in Morocco by assets, and focuses on domestic SME financing. A universal bank incorporated as a public joint stock company under the laws of Morocco, BMCE is listed on the Casablanca Stock Exchange, and its main shareholders are the privately owned Moroccan group FinanceCom (39 per cent) and French bank Crédit Mutuel-CIC (26 per cent). Other leading institutions are also significant shareholders.

Since the beginning of its operations in Morocco in 2012, the EBRD has invested more than €130 million (US$ 176 million) in nine projects.

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