The EBRD is providing a €10 million loan to Erste Bank Croatia for on-lending to private companies and municipalities for investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.
The loan comes under the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Efficiency Facility II (WeBSEFF II) launched last year to support efforts towards the improved use and conservation of energy in the region. The facility is combining necessary longer-term financing with technical expertise, two crucial components which often remain difficult to obtain.
Erste Bank Croatia will be the fourth participating bank to sign a loan under the framework. Joining WeBSEFF II will provide access to funding as well as technical expertise which is required for the appraisal of energy efficiency investments. Sub-loans will be granted according to clearly defined eligibility criteria.
Phil Bennett, EBRD First Vice President, said: “The credit line will support improved energy efficiency in Croatia by demonstrating the benefits of energy conservation to a wide range of sub-borrowers. We expect strong appetite for these loans from private and municipal clients and this will further strengthen interest in the framework.”
"We are extremely pleased with the opportunity to continue co-operation with the EBRD with the signing of this credit line", Erste Bank Croatia Board member Boris Centner said. "Erste Bank Croatia has a practice of backing worthwhile and well-prepared projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy. This is a segment where we see great potential in the future and which is also in line with the strategic guidelines for Croatia’s economic development. This credit line will be available for new investments in the energy sector and the added benefit for our clients is expert consultancy that will accompany our quality financial package."
WeBSEFF II is a €75 million facility designed to provide credit lines to local banks in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia for on-lending to private and municipal borrowers for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. It is part of the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme for the Western Balkans, a joint initiative of the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and the EBRD.
Under this umbrella, the European Union is supporting WeBSEFF II with €11.5 million in grant funds for technical cooperation programmes and investment incentives for borrowers, who will benefit from consultation and advice such as free energy audits. The Western Balkans region has significant untapped potential for energy efficiency investments, while a number of barriers remain in the market. WeBSEFF II has been designed to address those issues.
To date, the EBRD has signed more than 150 projects in Croatia for a total amount of €2.85 billion. The Bank’s investments are divided between the industry, commerce, agribusiness, energy, financial and infrastructure sectors.