Small businesses to benefit from improved access to finance
Small businesses are expected to benefit from improved access to long-term finance thanks to a €35 million loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Raiffeisen Leasing d.o.o. for the expansion of the leasing company’s business.
This will largely be based on increased activity by Raiffeisen Leasing in the segment of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. Although small privately owned companies constitute the backbone of the Croatian economy, they often find access to finance difficult. In many cases leasing offers a viable and attractive alternative, yet market penetration remains below the EU average.
Raiffeisen Leasing is a long-standing partner of the EBRD and the third-largest leasing company in Croatia. It has a strong focus on small businesses and plans to build its further expansion on its expertise in this segment. The company is a subsidiary of Raiffeisen Bank International.
Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director, Regional Head for Croatia and Slovenia, said: “We are very pleased to extend the long-term financing to Raiffeisen Leasing to on-lend to Croatian small and medium corporates, encouraging entrepreneurial activity. Diversifying the financing sources, the Croatian corporates will attain improved access to finance to support their investments.’’
Miljenko Tumpa, President of the Board of Raiffeisen Leasing, added: “So far this is the fifth agreement between the EBRD and Raiffeisen Leasing, which confirms that the EBRD has recognised us as a reliable partner. Even more significant is the affirmed importance of operating and financial leasing for financing small and medium-sized business in Croatia. We believe that small and medium-sized enterprises are the key drivers of economic growth in Croatia and Raiffeisen Leasing has an active role in developing their potential and thus indirectly supports the recovery of the economy in Croatia.”
Since the beginning of its operations in Croatia in 1993 the EBRD has invested €3.5 billion in more than 186 projects in the country. In addition to its wide product range across many sectors, including financial institutions, in recent years the EBRD has built a growing portfolio of investments (both equity and debt) in the Croatian commerce and agribusiness sector, for which demand remains high.