EBRD promotes competitive agribusiness in Montenegro

By Viktorija Melohina

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the competitiveness of the private sector in Montenegro by financing a growing player in the agribusiness sector.

The EBRD is extending up to €5 million loan to Goranovic d.o.o. Niksic, one of the largest meat producers and processors in Montenegro.

The project was signed in Belgrade during the EastAgri Annual Meeting, which gathers top experts from Europe and Central Asia to facilitate the exchange of experiences and know-how. This year’s meeting focused on producing safer and better-quality food, a topic which is very relevant for the meat sector, where EBRD financing contributes substantially to reforms that make agribusinesses more competitive.

In parallel with the EBRD financing, Societe Generale Montenegro will provide a loan of €3 million for working capital needs.

The loan will strengthen the company’s competitiveness in Montenegro and in regional markets, helping Goranovic align its operations to EU standards and promote best practices in the local agribusiness sector.

The EBRD also provides technical support for the development of sales growth strategy (including marketing and distribution), improvements to profitability and working capital management.

Financing for this project comes under the EBRD’s Local Enterprise Facility (LEF) of up to €405 million. The LEF is a programme combining finance and technical assistance, focused on strengthening the private sector by providing long-term financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Balkans, Turkey and the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.

Despite Montenegro’s efforts to create a more favourable business climate, access to long-term financing remains one of the greatest obstacles for SMEs, according to the EBRD’s Country Strategy for Montenegro. This limits the expansion of existing operations and the development of new market opportunities. The Bank’s financing aims to overcome this constraint.

“The EBRD is pleased to support economic diversification of the agribusiness sector in Montenegro. Goranovic is a strong player in the market and we are pleased to extend our cooperation and to promote sustainable business models in the country,” said Gilles Mettetal, Director of Agribusiness at the EBRD.

“Goranovic sees the Bank as a strong potential partner for achieving sustainable development. We are looking into expanding our business and becoming a regional player. This is why having a long-term partner of the EBRD’s calibre working across the region is very important for us,” said Goranovic CEO and co-owner, Djordjije Goranovic.

Montenegro enjoys longstanding recognition in the region for its production and consumption of traditional air-dried or smoked prosciutto ham (‘Njeguski’ ham), and meat represents a high share of food spending in Montenegro.

Goranovic is a strong brand in the regional market, with 120 products including fresh meat, smoked and canned meats, pâtés and fermented sausages. The brand was recognised as one of the best in Montenegro in 2011. The EBRD’s work with Goranovic reinforces the Bank’s commitment to increasing the availability of high-quality products in its region, and also echoes messages from the EastAgri Annual Meeting on upgrading food quality standards.

Since the beginning of its operations in Montenegro the EBRD has committed more than €400 million in approximately 40 projects, generating more than €800 million of investment in the country. EBRD investments cover the whole range of Montenegro’s economy.

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