EBRD in US$ 12.5 million investment into Belarusian equity fund

By Anton Usov

EBRD in US$ 12.5 million investment into Belarusian equity fund

Zubr Capital Fund I, the first Belarus-focused institutional private equity fund managed by an experienced, locally based team of investment professionals, which will support domestic SMEs.

Zubr Capital Fund I to concentrate on domestic private businesses

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has become an anchor investor in Zubr Capital Fund I, the first Belarus-focused institutional private equity fund managed by an experienced, locally based team of investment professionals, which will support domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

By committing US$12.5 million to the fund which raised US$ 50 million in its first closing, the EBRD is supporting the emergence of a strong private equity player, which could eventually become an important source of alternative financing for local SMEs.

Strengthening local private companies is one of the EBRD’s key goals under its current strategic priorities. These are defined as strengthening resilience, promoting integration and addressing global and regional challenges. The fund, established by the local private equity firm Zubr Capital, is planning to make long-term investments into promising companies in the IT, retail and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors.

It is expected that after the first successful closing Zubr Capital Fund I will continue fund raising and may attract additional investors, subject to favourable market conditions and business appetite.

The fund is set to become a specialised private equity player dedicated to the development of small and medium-sized Belarusian enterprises. It will provide them with growth financing that often remains unavailable otherwise in the country. It will also equip domestic businesses with modern financial skills and techniques needed to successfully compete domestically and on international markets.

The launch of the fund is an important event not only for Zubr Capital but also for the financial market of Belarus as a whole as it will help demonstrate the attractiveness of the country as a destination for investments. It represents a milestone in the development of the local private sector financing.

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.