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EBRD and Banca Intesa support SMEs in Serbia

By Rezo Bitsadze

  • Loan of up to €100 million to the largest bank in Serbia for on-lending to local businesses
  • Investment to improve access to finance and boost competitiveness of SMEs
  • BIB commits to developing climate transition plan and to increasing its green investments

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which became fully aligned with the Paris Agreement at the start of 2023, is providing a comprehensive financing package to Banca Intesa Belgrade (BIB), a member of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia.

The EBRD will provide BIB with a loan of up to €100 million to on-lend to local businesses, improve their access to finance and help them increase their competitiveness, including in economically less-developed regions of the country.

As part of this financial package, BIB is committing to develop a transition plan that includes climate considerations geared towards Paris alignment. BIB is also looking to boost its green investments by investing at least 10 per cent of the funding in projects that are aligned with the Bank’s Green Economy Transition approach.

Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director for Financial Institutions in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, said: BIB and the EBRD have a strong track record of supporting SMEs in Serbia. Today, we are very pleased to team up once more to channel €100 million to local businesses, to boost their competitiveness, and to ensure their long-term growth. We are also grateful that our long-standing partner recognises the importance of climate change, and that it has committed to working with us on a transition plan towards the goals of the Paris Agreement.”

Darko Popović, President of the Executive Board of Banca Intesa, stated: "I am very glad that we are continuing the long-term partnership that we have nurtured with the EBRD through support for SMEs, which are particularly vulnerable in the current conditions of global geo-political and monetary uncertainty, while they are the most important drivers of the economy and the carrier of economic development in our country. Thanks to the funds from the new credit line, we will be able to offer them more favourable financing conditions and to contribute to the strengthening of their business by helping them to improve competitiveness on the domestic and European markets. Additionally, with the planned increase in the level of green investments, we will be one step closer to meeting the goals relating to the application of ESG principles, which guide us in accordance with the strategic plan of our parent Intesa Sanpaolo Group, and which, in the field of climate transition, imply the achievement of net zero emissions at the Group level by 2050.”

BIB, a member of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, is a long-standing partner of the EBRD. It is one of the leading banks in Serbia providing retail and corporate banking services with total assets of over €7.1 billion. It also has a well-developed network of 146 branches across Serbia.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia and has now invested almost €8 billion in the country through 330 projects, with over 70 per cent of these in the private sector. The Bank focuses on SME support, the improvement of public utility services and the overall transition to a green economy.

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