The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a senior loan of up to US$ 4 million to a privately owned Belarusian garments producer Mark Formelle. The loan will finance the retail expansion of Mark Formelle’s operations in Belarus as well as the neighbouring markets of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and the restructuring of its balance sheet.
The company, which specialises in the production of garments such as T-shirts, sleepwear, underwear and other speciality clothing such as thermal underwear, is planning to almost double the number of its own branded retail outlets in Belarus and expand the franchisee chain in the region.
The EBRD has been successfully involved with the company since 2012 in the context of the EBRD’s Business Advisory Programme funded by the European Union.
The Programme helped Mark Formelle to find a local marketing consultant to complete a customer survey, develop a brand concept aimed at target customers and develop a marketing plan to raise brand awareness.
It also mobilised international advisers, which helped the company in various areas ranging from the development of new collections, advertising and supply chain management, to production planning, pricing policies and merchandising practices development.
Francis Delaey, the EBRD’s Head of Office in Belarus, said: “Mark Formelle is a good example of how a properly managed transparent private business can attract external funding and develop. We hope that customers in markets where the company is planning to expand will enjoy Mark Formelle’s products as much as they do in Belarus.”
Andrey Serikov, CEO of the Mark Formelle Company, said: “This is a very important event in the life of our company. It was preceded by a long period in order for us to meet the requirements for the European companies. During the last two years the management and the company's specialists with the support of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development studied the European approach to management and started to improve marketing, finances and business processes within the company. Today we are very happy, and we are looking forward to continuing our cooperation with the EBRD in the future.”
The EBRD is a major investor in Belarus. As of November 2014 the Bank had signed 66 projects worth over €1.4 billion, €883 million of which was invested in the past five years.