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EBRD provides financial package for Hrvatska poštanska banka

By Axel  Reiserer

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€10 million in loans to support small businesses, women entrepreneurs and energy efficiency in Croatia

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is deepening its engagement with Hrvatska poštanska banka d.d. Zagreb (HPB) with a wide-reaching financial package consisting of three loans worth up to €10 million.

The first loan is a €6 million credit line for on-lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). This vital segment of the local economy still has insufficient access to finance, especially outside of the country’s major cities. To compete successfully in local and international markets these companies need sound investments which the EBRD loan will support.

The second loan of up to €2 million will be extended for on-lending to women-led MSMEs to support their growth and development. The EBRD has developed a programme which assists the local banking sector in reaching this under-serviced group, thus helping to maximise the development and potential of the MSME sector.

Together with the loans designated for on-lending to women-led enterprises, the Bank is providing comprehensive technical advice to participating financial institutions and women-led MSMEs. This support is currently funded by the TaiwanBusiness–EBRD Cooperation Fund in the amount of €1.12 million and by the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund with €130,000. In addition, participating financial institutions and women-led enterprises also make various contributions to technical advice.

The third loan is a €2 million credit line under the Croatia Residential Sustainable Energy Financing Framework. It will be used for on-lending for energy efficiency investments in the residential sector. The framework was developed by the EBRD to address significant challenges with respect to energy consumption in Croatia. With the residential sector being among the country’s largest energy end-users, there is significant potential for energy efficiency improvement.

Lucyna Stańczak-Wuczyńska, EBRD Director EU Banks, said: “We are pleased to deepen the engagement with HPB after the bank successfully underwent a comprehensive restructuring process. With our loan package we will reach a wide area of EBRD targets, namely small businesses, women entrepreneurs and energy efficiency investments, all of which are crucial for Croatia’s growth and development. We are confident that the cooperation with HPB will be far-reaching and successful.”

Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Regional Director for Croatia, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, added: “The signing today illustrates the EBRD’s commitment to continue delivering strong support to the Croatian economy through good projects and engagement in policy dialogue to tackle the underlying issues which are holding back growth. The loan package for HPB is a great example for the depth and width of our offer and we are prepared to do more.”

Tomislav Vuić, Chairman of the Management Board of HPB, added: “We are pleased with our engagements with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and especially as thanks to our cooperation we are signing credit lines extended to support small and medium-sized enterprises and the growth and development of firms led by women as well as to encourage energy-efficient investments. This is important both for our customers and for the Croatian economy and allows us to participate even more actively in investments that are vital for all of society.”

The EBRD signed its first project in Croatia in 1994 and has invested €3.57 billion in 192 projects to date. The Bank’s activities cover all areas of the economy but are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors. In 2016 alone the Bank invested €311 million in 12 projects. Looking ahead, major priorities in 2017 will include enhancing the country's competitiveness and resource efficiency.

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