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EBRD loan helps Montenegrin grocery chain grow

By Olga Rosca

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The EBRD is boosting competition in the Montenegrin retail sector with a loan to enable Voli, the country’s leading retailer, to acquire the fifth-largest supermarket chain in Montenegro, Novito. 

In its sixth transaction in the Montenegrin private sector, the Bank is providing a €4.64 million loan to Voli Trade, a grocery retailer in Montenegro operating 16 stores in the capital, Podgorica, and 15 in other towns. With a market share of about 25 per cent, Voli Trade is the leading grocery retailer and one of the best recognised brands in the country. The EBRD investment will allow the retailer to refinance the acquisition of Novito in a move to add another 18 stores in six Montenegrin towns to its chain.

“Consumers increasingly seek value when buying their weekly groceries and the larger supermarkets can offer both value and high quality. This second EBRD investment in Voli Trade helps the company grow and bring a modern retail experience to Montenegro beyond Podgorica. In addition, it will significantly boost competition in the retail sector. We are particularly pleased to support a local company and possibly extend our cooperation in the future,” said Head of the EBRD Resident Office in Montenegro, Giulio Moreno.

Voli CEO Dragan Bokan added: “We are pleased to build on our successful cooperation with the EBRD. The loan will be used to expand our retail network in order to strengthen our leading position on the market. As a result Montenegrin consumers throughout the country will benefit from an increased choice of products and lower prices. This deal is a step towards more substantial cooperation.”

The EBRD previously arranged a €4.2 million loan to Voli Trade, enabling the retailer to open two more stores outside Podgorica in 2010. Since then Voli’s market share doubled.

The loan to Voli Trade is arranged under the  EBRD–Italy Local Enterprise Facility, an investment instrument established to support economies in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro, Turkey and Serbia. It provides long-term financing to small and medium-sized local enterprises whose needs are not sufficiently addressed by existing financing facilities.

Since the beginning of its operations in Montenegro, the EBRD has invested over €300 million in the country’s economy.

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