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EBRD, donors and Banca Intesa support Serbian SMEs

By Bojana Vlajcic

  • EBRD credit line of €25 million to Banca Intesa Belgrade
  • New financing for SME investments in sustainable, green technologies
  • Loans supported by donor-funded incentive grants

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up cooperation with Banca Intesa Belgrade in Serbia by extending a new €25 million credit line, intended to finance investments by local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The proceeds will help these businesses to increase their investments in green technologies and other areas, allowing them to comply with various EU directives and other relevant international standards.

The SMEs will also benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of the loan amount. The grants will be funded by Luxembourg and Norway, with other donors expected to participate as well.

Local firms will also receive support from the programme consultant who will help them prepare and implement their investment plans.

Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, said “We are very pleased that the funds from the credit line are intended primarily for green investments, which is in line with our key commitment to facilitate the decarbonisation and greening of the Serbian economy.”

The credit line is part of the EBRD’s SME Reboot Programme that supports small firms’ recovery from the pandemic-induced slowdown. At least 70 per cent of the loan will go towards SMEs’ investments in green technologies and upgrades with a view to helping them improve energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. The remainder will support investments in automation, increased productivity, product quality and safety.

Darko Popović, President of the Executive Board of Banca Intesa, said: "By empowering SMEs in Serbia through our long-term cooperation with the EBRD, we continue to support the creation of a resilient and sustainable economy in our country. This project builds on the previous EBRD credit line, which focused on achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. We are continuing to focus on applying ESG principles in business by supporting the green transition, and in accordance with the strategic plan of our parent group, Intesa Sanpaolo. To date we have invested almost €70 million in support of sustainable projects in the economic segment in Serbia.”

Banca Intesa Belgrade, 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.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia and has now invested over €8 billion in the country, with more than 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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