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EBRD extends first syndicated loan to support Albanian SMEs

By Viktorija Melohina

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is strengthening the Albanian financial sector by extending its first syndicated loan in the country. The financing will support local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The €6 million three-year syndicated loan is being provided to Fondi Besa, a non-bank microfinance lender, to support local development of the private sector. The financing is a landmark transaction, as it is the EBRD’s first loan syndicated in the financial sector of Albania.

Under the syndication structure the EBRD is providing an A loan of €3 million, while the remaining €3 million B loan is extended by the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE). Both loans have an identical three-year maturity.

With this engagement the EBRD is contributing to the further development and diversification of the financial infrastructure in Albania. The financing is aimed at mobilising additional investments and increasing the access of Albanian financial institutions to foreign capital.

“We are proud to have arranged our first syndicated loan in Albania and pleased to support Fondi Besa with this transaction. The transaction illustrates the development of the financial sector in Albania. It is important to have a variety of financial tools, because this helps to achieve financial resilience,” said Tony Myron, EBRD Senior Banker, Financial Institutions, for the Western Balkans, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.

EFSE brings together private and public sources of financing to provide sustainable funding to micro and small enterprises. It also acts as a platform for coordinating donor activities in south-eastern Europe.

Fondi Besa is a non-bank microfinance lender, one of only two commercially oriented microfinance institutions in Albania. Fondi Besa commenced operations in 1994 as part of the Albanian Development Fund, a state agency funded by the World Bank, with the principal aim of supporting entrepreneurs who had limited access to finance.

Since beginning its work in Albania, the EBRD has invested around €795 million in 66 projects in various sectors of the economy.

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