EBRD and Stopanska Banka support small businesses in North Macedonia

By Bojana Vlajcic

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EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and Stopanska Banka Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors Diomidis Nikoletopoulos signed a €4 million loan agreement in Skopje today

  • EBRD credit line of €4 million to Stopanska Banka in North Macedonia
  • New finance for SME investments in sustainable, green technologies
  • Loans supported by donor-funded incentive grants

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending new financing to Stopanska Banka, which will benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in North Macedonia.

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and Stopanska Banka Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of Directors Diomidis Nikoletopoulos signed a €4 million loan agreement in Skopje today. 

The loan to Stopanska Banka will help boost SME investments in high performance standards, technologies and services, enabling them to become more competitive. It should also allow small firms to reboot their businesses following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The credit line is part of the EBRD’s new SME Reboot Programme, which supports small firms’ recovery from the pandemic-induced slowdown. It will also aid the expansion of the green economy in North Macedonia by promoting investments in energy efficiency improvements. Around 70 per cent of programme funding will be allocated to investments in energy-saving and green technologies, while the remainder will support investments in automation, increased productivity, product quality and safety.

SMEs will also benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of their loan amount. The grants will be funded by Luxembourg, Norway and the United States of America, with other donors expected to participate.

President Renaud-Basso said: “SMEs are the backbone of local economies. They provide jobs and opportunities to local communities. Supporting them is one of EBRD’s key priorities in the economies where it invests. This is particularly needed following the slowdown induced by the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing disruptions to global trade. We hope this fresh financing will help many companies to recover and boost their business, while supporting the green transition.”

Mr Nikoletopoulos said: “Stopanska banka AD – Skopje has historically been recognised as the financial partner behind major infrastructural and industrial projects. However, what is less known is the consistent support it provides to SMEs for growth and development. This is why we are pleased to sign this significant contract today and make an additional step towards supporting our SME clients. The recovery from the pandemic is slow and difficult, but it presents an opportunity to rethink and restructure the business, making it more sustainable for the future, which is exactly what this programme is meant to achieve.”

Stopanska Banka is the bank with the longest tradition in North Macedonia, founded back in 1944. It operates as a universal bank and is ranked as the largest bank in the country by net loans. It is 94.6 per cent owned by National Bank of Greece, with the remainder held by minority investors.

The EBRD is a major institutional investor in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested more than €2.2 billion in 158 projects in various sectors of the economy.

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