EBRD investments hit record high level in Armenia

By Loretta  Martikian

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EBRD investments hit record high level in Armenia

The EBRD financed a record volume of projects in Armenia in 2015, providing strong support to the country’s economy in a challenging economic environment that was affected by the regional crisis.

The EBRD financed 14 projects with total investments reaching US$ 140 million for the year, unprecedented level in the 24 years that the Bank has worked in Armenia, and a clear indication of both the investment opportunities in the country and strong demand for EBRD funding.

The investment activities of the EBRD were strongest in the areas of financial institutions, transport, municipal infrastructure, industry, commerce and agribusiness. The EBRD also had another notable year of working with banks to provide trade finance to the Armenian corporate sector. In line with its strategy, the EBRD assisted its clients by increasing the level of local currency financing, helping to further develop capital markets, and supported consolidation of the banking system. In addition, the EBRD participated in a landmark international syndication for Zvartnots International Airport which will provide significant new resources for further investment in Armenia.

In trade finance, Armenia became an active user of the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme, with a total of US$ 48 million in support of local businesses. Focusing on environmentally friendly, commercial provision of public resources, the EBRD signed two municipal projects with the City of Yerevan and the government of Armenia. The Yerevan solid waste project included grant support from the European Union and Yerevan street lighting won the first E5P Fund grant in Armenia.

Commenting on the record level of investments, EBRD Head of the Yerevan Office, Mark Davis, said: "The EBRD’s ability to attract increasing financial resources to Armenia is testament to the bankability of our clients and the overall investment climate in Armenia. In a challenging external environment we have consistently focused on allocating resources in ways that are innovative, strategic and add value to investment partners and high quality businesses. The EBRD has consistently proved to be a steady partner.”

In 2015, the EBRD also published a new four-year strategy for Armenia that aims to enhance private sector competitiveness; develop capital markets and local currency financing; further develop infrastructure; and commercialise the provision of public services.

“While 2016 is likely to be a challenging year, I see a number of new opportunities in Armenia to add to our client base, and several deal prospects are already maturing. Overall I am optimistic, especially about capital market development and the emergence of more private equity investment activity. Meanwhile, we are delighted with the execution of our deal counterparties, including corporate clients, government authorities, and donors, all of whom have helped make 2015 such a productive year,” continued Mr Davis.

Since the start of its operations in Armenia in 1992, the EBRD has invested over $1.13 billion in 148 projects in the country’s financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with 88 per cent of these investments being in the private sector.

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