SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

EBRD, Eurobank Increase Availability Of Finance For Serbian SMEs

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By Olga Rosca

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Serbia will benefit from better access to finance in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic thanks to a €40million(US$42.93million) loan provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to Eurobank for on-lending to private businesses.

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, many companies in Serbia are experiencing a decrease in activity, turnover and profitability. This is leading to payment delays and liquidity issues for the whole economy. Increased financing available via Eurobank can help bridge the financing gap and keep the economy’s wheels turning.

EBRD Regional Director, Western Balkans, Zsuzsanna Hargitai said: “Working with Eurobank, our goal is to strengthen the resilience of Serbia’s economy by reinforcing the link between the real economy and the financial sector. Businesses need access to finance, banks need to remain able to lend. The EBRD is ready to support this.”

Head of the Corporate Banking Division at Eurobank, Milan Vićentić added: “When our economy is affected by the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Eurobank strives to bridge the market’s liquidity gap and continue lending to large companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across the country. Our goal is to contribute to the fast recovery of businesses suffering from the pandemic.”

The new financing is part of the EBRD’s efforts to help countries in its regions to combat the impact of the coronavirus and support their recovery. The EBRD stands ready to provide support worth €21 billion over the period 2020-21, including over €3 billion in the Western Balkans.

The support includes a Resilience Framework for existing clients, offering short-term liquidity, working capital and restructuring of exposure. The EBRD is also providing trade finance and an emergency support programme for providers of vital infrastructure. In addition, the Bank is ramping up its local currency, capital markets and equity offers.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than €5.8 billion across 260 projects in the country to date, where it is supporting private sector development and the transition towards a sustainable, green economy.

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