EBRD continues to invest in SBB/Telemach Group

By Axel  Reiserer

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has increased its exposure to Serbia Broadband (SBB)/Telemach Group with an investment of €50 million, with co-investor Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. (together with its affiliates, KKR), a leading global investment firm with headquarters in New York, and with US 94.3 billion in assets under management.

This EBRD investment will increase the competition in the telecommunication sector in the region and will support the expansion of SBB/Telemach Group by partnering with KKR, the new owner of the group and a new investor to the region. The EBRD has been supporting the operations of SBB/Telemach since 2004, through various transactions in the form of debt and equity financing, and the EBRD will continue supporting the group in this new phase of its development.

Henrik Kraft, Member of KKR and head of KKR’s telecoms and technology team in Europe said: “We are very pleased with the EBRD’s continued commitment to SBB/Telemach Group. The company now has the full support of two major international investors to sustain its further growth.”

Izzet Güney, Director for Information and Communication Technologies at the EBRD, said: "We are very excited about KKR's maiden investment in the EBRD region. This is a watershed transaction which demonstrates the attractiveness of the Western Balkans area for world class private equity players. We are also extremely pleased to continue our support of SBB's management team and vision."

“Having the support and confidence of such financial institution like the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will enable the ambitious expansion of SBB/Telemach Group, which is dedicated to providing a wide range of high quality services to its users under affordable prices. In the future, we will continue to operate according to strict European standards and regulations, and strive to always give our contribution to the communities in which we operate,” said Dragica Pilipovic Chaffey, CEO of SBB.

SBB/Telemach Group is operating in six markets in the region, with 1.69 million users, and covers an area of 20 million people, including the diaspora.

The closing of this transaction is subject to the approval of the relevant regulatory authorities.

It is expected that this investment will stimulate the interest of other global private equity firms to invest in the region.