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#EBRDmore: doing more in Central and South Eastern Europe

By Charlotte Ruhe

BRD and partner banks in €73 million syndicated loan for Sunce Koncern

New record investments in Greece, support for Lithuania’s organic food producer AB Auga Group, and boosting the covered bond market in the Slovak Republic through a combination of investment and policy reforms – these are just three examples of the EBRD’s successful work in central and south eastern Europe in 2018.

Last year alone, we invested more than €4 billion in almost 145 projects in the 18 countries of the region.

And there is more to come. #EBRDmore.

The EBRD is stepping up its investments and engagements in response to strong market demand for what the Bank can offer.

This includes bespoke financial products -- ranging from long-term equity investment to specific microfinance solutions -- as well as policy dialogue to create the strong institutions needed for successful long-term growth.

And we are closely aligning our activities with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on renewable energy and economic inclusion, where the EBRD is a pioneer in its regions.

Only economies that benefit their people are successful economies. The EBRD is making a vital contribution to this effort, and here’s how.

  • The Romanian technology company UiPath has been extraordinarily successful, with EBRD support. One of our funds – Earlybird Digital East Fund – invested in UiPath at seed stage. In 2015, it had less than $1m in revenue. Only two years later it had revenues in excess of US$ 100 million and was valued at US$ 3 billion.
  • We successfully launched a new Inclusive Tourism framework for the Eastern Mediterranean with a €73 million syndicated loan to the Croatian hotel operator Sunce Koncern d.d. This will further tap into Croatia’s huge potential in the tourism sector and reach out to local suppliers to help create jobs and boost incomes.
  • Demonstrating our commitment to the development of local capital markets in the Baltics, we combined steps to help create a regional capital market union with active investments: for instance, the €40 million purchase of debut bonds issued by the Lithuanian retailer Maxima Grupė.
  • Supporting green investments, we provided a PLN 300 million (€71 million equivalent) loan to Poland’s Millennium Leasing for energy efficiency and renewable projects and invested in the first ever energy exchange in Greece.

The EBRD is and will remain a relevant partner: financially strong, agile in our operations and flexible in our approach.

In the European Union countries where we operate, we continue to address the challenges of economies as they advance towards convergence. The EBRD remains available with its own finance and expertise to support the absorption of EU funds in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Our priority is to encourage and enable the dynamics of the private sector.

  • Supporting the modernisation and development of the Romanian agricultural sector, the EBRD became a stakeholder in the leading local company Agricover Holding SA with an investment in local currency.
  • We financed the acquisition of green buses for the Bulgaria’s capital Sofia which also joined the Bank’s Green Cities programme -- a plan to develop benchmarks for sustainable urban development.
  • In a major boost to energy diversification, the EBRD is co-financing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, starting at the Greek/Turkish border and transporting gas from the Caspian region to Europe.

The EBRD has the means, the expertise and the commitment to move forward in all our existing regions. And our donors play a major role in our delivery, both with advice and with finance.

We are as diverse as our countries and as committed as its people: we are doing more to achieve more. #EBRDMore for more growth, more jobs, more prosperity.

This is the first of a series of articles about the way we are increasing the quantity and quality of what we do in our regions.

Charlotte Ruhe is EBRD Managing Director for Central and South Eastern Europe and as such oversees the Bank’s work in 18 countries.

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