EBRD brings new foreign investors to support private sector of Belarus

By Anton Usov


русский перевод

US$ 20 million syndicated loan to Belarusky Narodny Bank

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is continuing to support private small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Belarus by providing a new syndicated loan in the total amount of US$ 20 million to Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB). BNB provides a wide range of services to corporates and retail clients. Its major strategic goal is support for SMEs.

The loan consists of an A loan and B loan for US$ 5 million and US$ 15 million, respectively. While the A loan is provided on the EBRD’s account, the B loan will be extended by a syndication comprising Bank im Bistum Essen eG (BIB), the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), the Dutch development bank FMO, and Triodos Investment Management.

Valdas Vitkauskas, EBRD Senior Banker and Head of the Financial Institutions team in Belarus, said at the signing ceremony: “The EBRD is very pleased that we – together with BNB and the B loan participants – have been able to attract this new funding and a diverse range of lenders, some of them entirely new to Belarus. Continued access to longer-term financing and expanding the number of fund providers are critical for supporting dynamic private businesses in Belarus at this challenging time for many economies in the region.”

The syndicated loan facility is unique on the Belarus market due to its long maturity of up to four years. BNB will use it to provide local SMEs with long-term funds, which are of critical importance for the expansion of their activities. It will send a signal to money and capital markets and is expected to mobilise a further inflow of international funds to the Belarusian economy.

BNB CEO Constantine Tsereteli commented: “We are delighted with the support and positive assessment of our bank`s operations by foreign investors, and this in turn will undoubtedly be reflected in the development of private SMEs in Belarus.”

Lorenz Jorgensen, EBRD Director for Loan Syndications, said: “The syndicated loan for BNB is an important achievement for the banking sector in Belarus, not only on the basis of the long maturity of four years but also in terms of the success in attracting four international co-lenders to the transaction.”

Since the start of its operations in Belarus, the EBRD has invested almost €1.8 billion in some 70 projects in various sectors of the country's economy.

 

Belarusky Narodny Bank (BNB-Bank) was established in 1992. Its head office is located in Minsk, Nezavisimosti ave., 87а. Fifteen service centers of BNB-Bank are located in 5 cities of Belarus (Minsk, Gomel, Brest, Vitebsk, Mogilov). The major shareholders are Bank of Georgia (79,99%) and IFC (19,99%). BNB-Bank provides wide range of services to legal entities and individuals. Support of SMEs is the major strategic goal of the bank.

Bank im Bistum Essen eG (BIB) is a German cooperative bank with 50 years of experience and a philosophy centred around on an ethical and sustainable business model. BIB specialises in providing financial services to churches and organisations that work with them in Germany. As one of the twenty biggest cooperative banks in Germany, BIB has total assets of €4.6 billion and about 126 employees. Since 2006, BIB has also been cooperating with microfinance institutions all over the world, providing debt financing directly and also through three Luxembourg-based funds (KCD Mikrofinanzfonds). BIB’s total outstanding microfinance investments exceed US$ 190 million.

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) fosters economic development and prosperity in 16 low and middle-income countries in south-eastern Europe and the eastern European Neighbourhood region. Since its inception, the fund’s investments in local financial institutions have resulted in over €5 billion in financing to more than 750,000 small businesses and private households. The EFSE is the first public-private partnership of its kind to finance micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and low-income private households in the regions it serves. www.efse.lu

FMO is the Dutch development bank. FMO has invested in the private sector in developing countries and emerging markets for more than 46 years. Their mission is to empower entrepreneurs to build a better world. They invest in sectors where they believe their contribution can have the highest long-term impact: financial institutions, energy and agribusiness. Alongside partners, they invest in the infrastructure, manufacturing and services sectors. With an investment portfolio of €9.2 billion spanning over 85 countries, FMO is one of the larger bilateral private-sector development banks globally. www.fmo.nl

Triodos Investment Management connects a broad range of investors who want to make their money work for lasting, positive change with innovative entrepreneurs and sustainable businesses doing just that. In doing so, Triodos serves as a catalyst in sectors that are key in the transition to a fairer, more sustainable and humane world. With highly professional investment teams, Triodos has built up in-depth knowledge throughout 25 years of investing in sectors such as energy and climate, inclusive finance, sustainable food and agriculture, arts and culture, and sustainable real estate. Triodos also invests in listed companies with an above-average environmental, social and governance performance. Assets under management as per end of 2015 were €3.1 billion. Triodos Investment Management is a globally active impact investor and consists of Triodos Investment Management BV and Triodos Investment Advisory and Services BV, both wholly owned subsidiaries of Triodos Bank NV.