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EBRD and Bulgaria’s Raiffeisen Leasing expand access to finance for SMEs

By Olga Rosca

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Raiffeisen Leasing will use the EBRD’s loan to finance new leases for SMEs in particular for agricultural equipment, trucks and trailers, light commercial vehicles and passenger car fleets.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €50 million loan to Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria OOD, the country’s third largest leasing company, to widen local small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) access to finance.

Raiffeisen Leasing will use the loan to finance new leases for SMEs in particular for equipment, trucks and trailers, light commercial vehicles and passenger car fleets.

The loan follows two previous EBRD financing facilities with  a total amount of €40 million successfully on-lent by Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria.

The wider use of non-bank financing sources, such as leasing, by smaller businesses in Bulgaria will support the sustainability of the companies' funding structures.

Larisa Manastirli, EBRD Director for Bulgaria, said: “With the leasing sector recovering from the financial crisis and demand for lease financing beginning to revive, we are delighted to extend this new loan to Raiffeisen Leasing, one of the strongest players in Bulgaria’s leasing market.”

Dobromir Dobrev, Deputy CEO of Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria), responsible for corporate banking, capital markets and leasing, said: “Our traditional good cooperation with the EBRD and other European financial institutions provides support to local companies. Under the earlier agreement we had with the EBRD, we have extended leasing financing to more than 250 Bulgarian businesses for the total amount of €20 million. Thanks to this new loan we will further broaden our support to the Bulgarian SMEs.”

Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria OOD is a universal leasing company, which offers its services via its offices and Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria)’s branch network. Raiffeisen Leasing Bulgaria is owned by Raiffeisenbank (Bulgaria) (24.5 per cent) and Raiffeisen Leasing International GmbH (75.5 per cent).

Previously the EBRD has provided a total of €130 million in financing to Raiffeisen group of companies in Bulgaria.
Strengthening financial sector intermediation is one of the EBRD’s priorities in Bulgaria. The Bank also focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of companies, including SMEs, through improved efficiency, governance and innovation; and on narrowing the infrastructure gap through commercialisation, reform and efficiency.

To date, the EBRD – one of the largest institutional investors in Bulgaria – has invested over €3.4 billion in more than 230 projects in the country. Some 80 per cent of the Bank’s investments in Bulgaria are in the private sector.

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