EBRD and Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje will increase finance for Macedonian SMEs

By Vanora Bennett

EBRD sells stake in Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje

  • EBRD provides €5 million loan to FYR Macedonia’s biggest bank, Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje, to help improve the competitiveness of Macedonian SMEs
  • Companies will also receive 750 thousand worth of grants from the EU IPA, under the EBRD-run regional Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Programme
  • At least 60 per cent of financing will be invested in sustainable energy improvements by SMEs

Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje has become the third Macedonian bank to join an initiative led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to boost lending to the country’s privately owned small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The EBRD is providing a €5 million loan to Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje under the Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Programme, which, with the support of the European Union (EU), provides medium- and long-term financing to SMEs and helps them to align with EU standards and requirements.

The EBRD loan is backed by €750 thousand from the EU, delivered under its Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

Of the EBRD funds for Komercijalna Banka AD Skopje, at least 60 per cent of the funds will be earmarked for  reducing energy and resource use and associated costs.

SMEs form the backbone of the Macedonian economy. According to EU figures, they account for about 80 per cent of all jobs in the country, well above the respective EU average of 66 per cent. Yet accessing financing remains a challenge, which this EBRD loan is set to address. Financing packages under the same programme were extended earlier in 2018 to Sparkasse Bank Makedonija and Ohridska Banka.

In total, the Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Program aims to provide up to €30 million in loans to Macedonian commercial banks over the coming year, with the EU contributing a further €6 million in the following years.

The current programme builds on an earlier €20 million competitiveness support facility, which was in place between 2010 and 2015. It was also supported by the European Union, which provided €4 million.

The EBRD has been investing in the Macedonian economy since 1993. To date, the Bank has signed more than 110 projects in the country, with a net cumulative business volume of more than €1.75 billion.