Small and medium enterprises in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Turkey will receive credit lines for 805 million Euro

Automation & RoboticsBusinessSouth-East European INDUSTRIAL Мarket - issue 1/2011

The funding is provided by Eurobank EFG Group in cooperation with the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Financing Agency

The Eurobank EFG Group secured credit lines financing amounting to over 1.4 billion Euro for small and medium-size enterprises in Greece and the countries in Southeast Europe – Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Turkey. This places the Group as a major partner of supranational financial institutions for the support of small and medium enterprises. 805 million Euro from the total fund are allocated for the countries covered by the financing agreements, namely Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Turkey, and 600 million Euro – for investments in Greece. To date, total disbursements to all countries are approaching 1 billion Euro, financing nearly 2,000 small and medium enterprises. In Greece, Eurobank EFG has provided funds to more than 1,500 companies, at a time where the assurance of liquidity is both vital for the SMEs themselves and a prerequisite for the exit of the Greek economy from the crisis and its return to sustainable growth.
The investments are a result of the expanding coo-peration between Eurobank EFG and the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Financing Agency (IFC), a member of the World Bank. The size of the funds underlines  the commitment of the Eurobank EFG Group to support the new growth model by strengthening outward-oriented firms, both in Greece and in the wider geographical region where it operates. Through these financing agreements, Eurobank EFG demonstrates its ability to respond to the call of the “Vienna Initiative”, under which the three international banking organizations signed a two-year memorandum of understanding totalling 25.1 billion Euro to overcome the global economic crisis of 2009.
As regards the cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB), Eurobank EFG has signed contracts with a total credit limit of more than 1 billion. In the framework of this cooperation with the EBRD, the total credit limits for Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Turkey amount to 280 million, while 95 million Euro have been guaranteed through the IFC. There are plans for expanding the collaborations in 2011.
Last year a few companies in the SEE region also received a financial support from EBRD for their projects. One of them is Electricity Distribution Company of Albania (“CEZ Shperndarje”), which received EUR 50 million long-term senior loan to the fund the Company’s turnaround and capex programme estimated at around EUR 200 million during 2010-2014, aimed at reducing electricity distribution losses, upgrading and modernizing the electricity distribution network, as well as improving the Company’s financial and operational performance. CEZ Shperndarje is 76% owned by the Czech energy group CEZ, a.s. which is acting as the Sponsor in this transaction. The Company’s investment plan during 2010-2014 amounts to around 200 million Euro and includes the following measures: modernization of the distribution network, covering both low and medium voltage lines; refurbishment of substations; installation of new meter; and implementation of a new billing system, SAP. This investment programme is expected to lead to a substantial improvement in the Company’s operating performance, reduction of distribution losses from the current 34% and the implementation of metering which will support improvements in payment discipline and thus enable CEZ Shperndarje to improve the collection rates from the current 82%.
The EBRD also provided a senior loan of up to 15 million to MonBat AD, a Bulgarian joint-stock company, producing lead-acid batteries for the Bulgarian and European markets. The loan finance would enable MonBat to pursue planned investments to increase production capacity, achieve efficiency gains in the production process and complete its third lead battery recycling facility. Universal Alloy Corporation Europe (“UACE”), a producer of aluminium components for the aerospace industry located in north western Romania, also was financed by EBRD with 10 million Euro. The total investment in its new facility is expected to be 42 million, out of which 28 million has already been contributed and deployed. The EBRD’s contribution was to support the development of an integral cast billet facility attached to the extrusions presses and an aerospace machined parts manufacturing facility. The EBRD provided a loan up to EUR 85 million to S.C. Hidroelectrica S.A., Romania to finance the rehabilitation of 6 units of Stejarul Bicaz Hydro Power Plant (HPP) with a total installed capacity of 210 MW. The rehabilitation shall permit to optimize the use of the 13 HPPs cascade and of the existing upstream dam capacity. The project will lead to an increase in the efficiency of Stejarul HPP and in the flexibility of the units to be used as peak capacity, using state-of-the-art technology. It will assist in the modernization of the most efficient generator in the Romanian energy sector, and further contribute to Romania’s ambitious targets in renewable energy generation. The Project is developed and implemented by the state owned hydro power company, S.C. Hidroelectrica S.A., also the biggest electricity producer in Romania with a market share of between 25-35% on the Romanian energy market. Hidroelectrica manages a network of 272 HPPs and pumping stations with a total installed capacity of 6,422.71 MW. In 2009, Hidroelectrica has a total average generation capacity of 17.3 GWh.
Source: Eurobank EFG Group, EBRD

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