€10 million EBRD loan to Serbian producer of recycled cardboard

By Bojana Vlajcic

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  • EBRD loan is part of €40 million total investment package
  • Goal is to improve energy efficiency and increase waste-paper collection and recycling
  • Umka is part of Kappa Star Group, which also owns a recycling firm

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting Umka, a leading manufacturer of recycled cardboard in the Western Balkans region and based in Serbia, with a €10 million loan as part of a comprehensive investment programme.

The EBRD loan will help finance the upgrading of equipment for cardboard production, allowing the company to increase its output. The funding will also support Umka in the introduction of new, higher-value-added products and improvements to the energy efficiency of its operations.

Increased production capacity is expected to lead to an increase in waste-paper collection and recycling in Serbia and the wider Western Balkans region, where the company has its own waste-paper collection points.

Matteo Colangeli, Regional Director for Western Balkans, Head of Serbia, EBRD, said: “The EBRD is a strong supporter of the circular economy. We want to help Serbian companies tap into the huge potential of this new market in the Western Balkans. Our cooperation with Umka is an example of our commitment to support leading recycling companies in upgrading their facilities, consolidating their position as regional players, and expanding their access to new export markets”.

The EBRD loan is part of a larger €40 million investment package, which includes a €25 million loan from the Austrian Development Bank (OeEB).

Umka is a part of the KappaStar Group, a regional leader in the confectionery industry and the paper recycling business. Umka’s recycled cardboard is widely used in many sectors and the company exports more than 80 per cent of its production to over 30 countries in Europe. Poland, Hungary, Romania and Russia are the firm’s main markets.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than €6.8 billion across 293 projects in the country to date. The EBRD is focusing on support for private-sector development, the improvement of public utility services and the overall transition to a green economy.

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