Société Générale Joins EBRD In Financing Izmir Metro


By Olga Rosca

Izmir, Turkey’s third-largest city, is receiving a new funding boost, despite the coronavirus pandemic, as French lender Société Générale is joining the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in financing the expansion of the city’s metro network.

Société Générale is providing €25 million(US$27.05million) as a B-loan under the EBRD’s A/B syndication structure, supplementing the €80 million loan provided by the EBRD in 2018 for the construction of a new 7.2 kilometre metro line along Izmir’s east-west corridor.

The Fahrettin Altay-Narlidere-Kaymakamlik line is expected to become operational in 2022 and will improve the connection between a university campus, a hospital and retail areas. It will extend the existing 19 kilometre Evka 3-Fahrettin Altay line and will link up with bus, suburban rail and tram networks.

The mayor of Izmir, Tunc Soyer, said: “The works to build the Fahrettin Altay-Narlidere-Kaymakamlik metro line continue at full speed and the line will become operational as planned. This loan is a good example of the support given to Izmir despite the Covid-19 outbreak.”

EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, Arvid Tuerkner added: “Izmir is one of our long-standing partners in Turkey. We welcome its drive to expand the transport network in a green, sustainable manner, and improve the quality of urban travel. The EBRD is pleased to play a role in financing this undertaking and attract other lenders to the cause.”

Managing Director, Export Finance, at Société Générale, Laurent Eurin commented: “Société Générale is particularly proud to join forces with the EBRD and contribute to the financing of this metro line extension, particularly important for the population of Izmir city. It evidences our ability to stand-by our clients, even in the current difficult coronavirus context, and help them out notably on their sustainability and positive impact agendas.”

The investment project is part of the joint work of Izmir and the EBRD to improve the urban environment and people’s lives in the city.

In 2018, Izmir joined EBRD Green Cities, an urban sustainability programme active in 40 cities, and committed to developing a comprehensive step-by-step investment plan addressing its most pressing environmental challenges.

The document will articulate the city’s sustainable development vision, strategic objectives, actions and investments for a five-year period to address priority issues and will serve as policy guidance to help Izmir promote awareness and raise additional financing for green initiatives within the city.

The EBRD has also provided €23.5 million of financing for 85 new vehicles for the Izmir metro system and a €33 million loan for five new car ferries – three are already operational and represent an environmentally friendly alternative to the city’s busy roads. Now the Bank is planning to co-finance a 13.3 kilometre metro line between the Ucyol and Buca neighbourhoods of Izmir.

The EBRD is a major investor in Turkey. Since 2009 it has invested almost €12 billion in various sectors of the country’s economy, with almost all investment in the private sector. The EBRD’s €6.7 billion Turkey portfolio is the largest among the 38 economies where the Bank invests.

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