EBRD delegation visits western Bulgaria

By Axel  Reiserer

EBRD delegation visits western Bulgaria

Regional Director Matteo Patrone pledges SME support

A delegation representing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) led by Matteo Patrone, the Bank’s Regional Director for Romania and Bulgaria, visited the western Bulgarian city of Pernik for meetings with the regional administration and the local business community.

Pernik is the second largest city in western Bulgaria and home to many businesses active on domestic and international markets.

The EBRD representatives used the opportunity to reiterate the Bank’s commitment to strengthening its support for the local economy, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with tailored financing instruments and initiatives.

The delegation was met by the Regional Governor Irena Sokolova who said: “This meeting provided an opportunity for the business community to learn about the EBRD’s financial instruments and the way the Bank operates in a wide range of sectors and industries. We have entrepreneurs with interesting project ideas for further growth and the expansion of their businesses and hope that this visit will mark the start of a successful cooperation.”

EBRD Regional Director Patrone commented: “We are committed to step up our engagement to support the country’s SME sector. We are delighted by the warm reception from Pernik's business community and the Regional Governor, which indicates a strong interest in our activities. We are planning similar events in other industrial regions.”

The EBRD delegation also included Milen Georgiev and Matteo Colangeli, Acting Directors for Bulgaria, and Ivan Cerovski, an SME Finance and Development banker based in Sofia. A presentation of the EBRD’s investment products and initiatives was followed by one-on-one meetings with local SMEs to discuss concrete project opportunities.

Milen Georgiev said: “We are confident that the contacts we established today can be translated into specific projects where the EBRD can continue to support sustainable growth and development in the Pernik region.”

Since the start of its operations in Bulgaria in 1993, the EBRD has invested over €3 billion in some 230 projects. Over 90 per cent of the Bank’s portfolio in Bulgaria is in the private sector. Over the years the EBRD’s investments and activities in the country have evolved significantly, in line with Bulgaria’s overall economic development.