Strengthening local Macedonian enterprises

By Axel  Reiserer

The EBRD is increasing its support to Macedonian enterprises with two credit lines to Ohridska Banka Societe Generale for on-lending to local companies. A loan of up to €6 million will be used to finance energy efficiency investments and a second loan of €1 million will be provided for competitiveness improvements of small and medium-sized enterprises.

SMEs form the backbone of the Macedonian economy but access to finance often remains a major challenge. The EBRD has made support for these companies a priority in order to promote sustainable growth.

Improvements in energy efficiency are an important step to reduce the additional burden of rising energy costs. Rising competitiveness is crucial for companies to withstand market pressure especially in the light of the countries opening towards the European Union.

Anca Ioana Ionescu, Head of EBRD Skopje Resident Office, said: “We are very pleased to provide these loans because they underpin our already strong relationship with Ohridska Banka Societe Generale and they will benefit the real economy of Macedonia. The country has strong entrepreneurial potential and our goal is to support the transformation of this potential into viable businesses.”

Jitka Pantuckova, President of Board of Directors of Ohridska Banka Societe Generale added: Ohridska banka continues the intensive support to SMEs. Four years ahead our growth of SME lending is beyond the average of the banking sector. By the credit facilities with EBRD we shape our readiness to meet the increasing growth of the domestic demand for loans and the new business opportunities on the market.

Ohridska Banka Societe Generale is the fourth largest commercial bank in Macedonia by total assets. In recent years the bank has continued expanding its presence across the country. In this development support for local SMEs plays a crucial role.

The €6 million loan comes under the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Financing Facility for sustainable energy efficiency investments in the region, while the €1 million loan is being provided under the Private Sector Support Facility for Western Balkans as part of the SME Competitiveness Support Facility Window aimed at supporting competitiveness and sustainability of SMEs in the new regulatory environment in preparation for EU accession.

The EBRD started investing in the Macedonian economy in 1993 and to date has signed over 80 projects with a net cumulative business volume of more than €1.1 billion in the country.