EIB and ProCredit unlock €65 million to speed the recovery of small and medium sized companies in the Western Balkans from the COVID-19 crisis

    • The EU bank to invest €65 million to support SMEs in the Western Balkans to save jobs and prepare to restart
    • The loan is extended to the ProCredit banks in Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina to sustain the recovery and development of the private sector in the Western Balkans despite the pandemic
    • To date, the EIB has invested €4.1 billion in the SME sector in the Western Balkans, sustaining more than half a million jobs

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the ProCredit group have agreed on a new €65 million credit line to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Balkans and to speed their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. This transaction provides much-needed financing to companies in Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia and Bosnia & Herzegovina and addresses their working capital, liquidity and investment needs in the face of the ongoing pandemic. In parallel, the operation strengthens the regional banking sector and reinforces its ability to finance the economic recovery of the Western Balkans.

The EIB loan will help mitigate the economic shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, support companies, retain jobs and maintain small businesses across the region. The credit line is part of the European Commission’s €3.3 billion financial support package for the Western Balkans, out of which €1.7 billion from the EIB has been earmarked to support sustainable social and economic recovery in the region. The EIB loans towards the private sector follow Team Europe’s efforts to support the Western Balkans.

EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, Lilyana Pavlova, said: “The COVID-19 impact is expected to be particularly harsh on SMEs, which account for about 73% of total employment in the Western Balkans. This operation comes at the right time to help the region alleviate economic recession, ensure employment and boost growth. As was previously the case, the EIB has once again expressed its firm support to advance development of the private sector towards convergence with EU standards and the creation of a strong common regional market with increased competitiveness and job opportunities. We are happy to have such reliable partners in the region such as ProCredit Bank. ”

The management of ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA, the parent company of the ProCredit group, said:

“Thanks to the well-established relationships with our clients and partners such as the EIB, we have been able to provide efficient support to numerous SMEs during these turbulent months. This EIB credit line will help SMEs in the Western Balkans overcome short-term liquidity shortages and will provide support for their investment projects − while at the same time opening them up to new lines of business and opportunities.

We expect that economic recovery in the coming years will be stimulated by a structural shift towards investments that are climate-friendly as well as socially and ecologically sustainable.”

The credit line will be available to SMEs at the ProCredit subsidiaries in Serbia, North Macedonia, Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina. To date, the EIB has invested €4.1 billion in SMEs in the Western Balkans, which has helped sustain over half a million jobs in the region.

Background information

About the EIB in the Western Balkans:

The EIB is one the leading international financiers in the Western Balkans. Since 2009, the Bank has financed projects totalling over €8 billion in the region.

For detailed information on EIB activities in the Western Balkans, please visit the following website: www.eib.org/en/publications/the-eib-in-the-western-balkan

EIB Climate Action

The European Investment Bank is active in around 160 countries and is the world’s largest multilateral lender for climate action projects. The EIB Group has recently adopted its Climate Bank Roadmap to deliver on its ambitious agenda to support €1 trillion of climate action and environmental sustainability investments in the decade to 2030 and to deliver more than 50% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025. Also, as part of the Roadmap, from the start of 2021, all new EIB Group operations will be aligned with the goals and principles of the Paris Agreement.

About ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA

ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA, based in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, is the parent company of the development-oriented ProCredit group, which consists of commercial banks for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In addition to its operational focus on South Eastern and Eastern Europe, the ProCredit group is also active in South America and Germany. The company’s shares are traded on the Prime Standard segment of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The anchor shareholders of ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA include the strategic investors Zeitinger Invest and ProCredit Staff Invest (the investment vehicle for ProCredit staff), the Dutch DOEN Participaties BV, KfW Development Bank and IFC (part of the World Bank Group). As the group’s superordinated company according to the German Banking Act, ProCredit Holding AG & Co. KGaA is supervised on a consolidated level by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht, BaFin) and the German Bundesbank. For additional information, visit: www.procredit-holding.com.

About Team Europe and the COVID-19 response in the Western Balkans:

As part of the #TeamEurope strategy, the EU’s global response to COVID-19, the EIB Group has rapidly mobilised €5.2 billion outside the EU, accelerating financing and targeted technical assistance. For the Western Balkan countries, the EIB has prepared an immediate support package of €1.7 billion, primarily for SMEs and the healthcare sector. The total EU financial support package for the Western Balkans amounts to more than €3.3 billion. For more information: www.eib.org/en/press/all/2020-111-eib-group-to-contribute-eur1-7-billion-to-the-eu-s-covid-19-response-package-for-the-western-balkans

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