New funds to serve small and medium-sized enterprises with specific focus on rural area
The EBRD is providing UniCredit Leasing Croatia with a €20 million loan for the expansion of leasing finance especially to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The availability of additional funds is expected to strengthen the growth of Croatia’s economy.
Leasing is the second most widely used financing instrument following bank loans in Croatia. However, the leasing sector is still small in size compared with the banking sector. The economic recovery and GDP growth in Croatia had a positive impact on the leasing sector which started showing first signs of growth in 2016 and continued an upward trend in 2017.
UniCredit Leasing Croatia, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Unicredit SpA’s Zagrebačka banka, is the largest leasing company in Croatia and aims to strengthen its position throughout the country, including outside the great Zagreb area which is considered crucial for Croatia’s development.
Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Regional Director, Croatia, Hungary, Slovak Republic and Slovenia, said: “Under conditions where many small and medium-sized enterprises only have limited access to traditional finance, leasing represents an attractive and valuable alternative. We are pleased to cooperate with UniCredit Leasing Croatia to strengthen the role of leasing in the private sector. Better access to funds will encourage entrepreneurial activity which in turn will support the country’s continuing growth.”
Eugen Paić-Karega, CEO, UniCredit Leasing Croatia, said: “An important part of UniCredit Leasing’s financing strategy was always to support entrepreneurs in their endeavour to expand their business in a sustainable way. UniCredit Leasing, in cooperation with the EBRD, offers special funding opportunities for the development of small and medium-sized enterprises when they are financing new equipment, machinery, production lines or vehicles. During the last few years, hundreds of SMEs expanded or renewed their production capacity and enlarged their business in all regions of Croatia by using funds from our cooperation.”
The EBRD signed its first project in Croatia in 1994 and has invested €3.6 billion in 197 projects to date. The Bank’s activities cover all areas of the economy but are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.