By EBRD Press Office
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia will benefit from better access to finance thanks to a €15 million(US$16.29million)EBRD loan to Banca Intesa Belgrade for on-lending to private businesses.
Borrowers will be able to apply for loans to invest in environmental protection, workers’ safety and product quality and safety, thereby implementing EU standards and becoming more competitive. At least 60 per cent of the total loan amount is allocated for investments related to green technology and energy efficiency.
In addition to loans, SMEs will be able to benefit from European Union-funded cashback grants worth 15 per cent of the total investment, funded through the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession for Serbia.
The agreement between the EBRD and Banca Intesa Belgrade, a long-standing partner for SME financing, was signed today in London during the EBRD’s Western Balkans Investment Summit.
“The loan agreement we signed today represents the continuation of our long-lasting cooperation with the EBRD that has enabled us to ensure a total of some 250 million euros in loan support for the Serbian economy and households so far. Owing to this loan, we will be in a position to ease access to finance for SMEs and help them invest in improving production and increasing competitiveness, thus providing a further impetus to the sustainable economic development of our country,” said President of Banca Intesa Executive Board, Draginja Đurić.
EBRD Director, Western Balkans, Zsuzsanna Hargitai added: “We are very pleased to sign this agreement with our long-standing partner Banca Intesa Belgrade. We are united in our ambition to support the private sector in Serbia and encouraged by the good progress the country’s economy has been making in recent years.”
The loan is part of the SME Competitiveness Programme for the Western Balkans region to assist private, small firms in complying with EU standards. Combining financing with advisory services, the programme equips SMEs with the tools needed to export to EU countries, but also enables them to offer better quality services and products, making them more competitive in local markets too.
The EBRD loan will be complemented by the provision of access to advisory support, also funded by the European Union.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than €5.7 billion across 260 projects in the country to date. The EBRD is supporting private-sector development and the transition towards a green economy.-Mobile World Live