Financing sustainable energy investments for Bulgarian business

By Axel  Reiserer

Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) have signed a second line of credit under the Bulgarian Programme for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (BEERECL). This will allow Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) to expand financing for sustainable energy investment by private companies in Bulgaria.

The EBRD loan of €7.5 million will be on-lent by Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) to local enterprises.

Since 2002, Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) has participated in five EBRD credit lines for the financing of Bulgarian business and retail sectors, including sustainable energy financing under BEERECL and the Residential Energy Efficiency Credit Line frameworks. Under the first BEERECL credit line of €20 million, Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) financed the completion of 25 energy efficiency and renewable projects.

This new BEERECL loan allows for a continuation of this strong cooperation in lending to companies for energy efficiency purposes and provides further support to local businesses.

Eligible energy efficiency projects will be designed to reduce energy consumption through investments, among others, to rehabilitate or replace boilers, modernise energy infrastructure, heat and steam recovery, process optimisation and installation of enhanced controls and automation systems. Eligible renewable energy projects could include investments in biomass, geothermal and biogas installations, as well as small wind turbines and solar thermal and hydro power projects.

The programme is supported by technical assistance and a grant for final beneficiaries financed by the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund. The grant is available for up to 15 per cent of the principal amount of the loans financed under BEERECL and depends on the estimated energy savings in the case of energy efficiency projects and the capacity installed for renewable energy projects.

Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) EAD (www.rbb.bg) was established in 1994. The bank is fully owned by Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI). RBI regards both Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) as its home market. In CEE, RBI operates an extensive network of subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other specialised financial service providers in 17 markets. RBI is the only Austrian bank with a presence in both the world's financial centres and in Asia, the group's further geographical area of focus. Around 60,000 RBI employees service about 14.2 million customers through around 3,100 business outlets, the great majority of which are located in CEE. RBI is a fully-consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG (RZB). RZB indirectly owns around 78.5 per cent of the common stock, the remainder is in free float. RBI's shares are listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange.