- The EIB has signed two loans with UniCredit in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia totalling up to €100 million to boost support for small and medium-sized businesses for faster COVID-19 recovery.
- This investment contributes to the strengthening of the private sector, supporting jobs, liquidity and expansion of business operations.
- The new loans signed today bring the total amount of credit lines provided so far by the EIB for SMEs' COVID-19 recovery under Team Europe's financial support for the Western Balkans to €475 million.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and UniCredit A.D. Banja Luka (UBBL) have signed an agreement to provide up to €50 million financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-Caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help them meet the challenge of recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. The loan will help companies to overcome the financial constraints brought about by the pandemic, maintaining liquidity and jobs. This is the third credit line provided by the EIB in support of companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Team Europe financial package for COVID-19 recovery of the Western Balkans. With the new loan signed today, the total EIB financing for COVID-19 recovery provided to SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the pandemic will reach €95 million.
UBBL will on-lend the funds to SMEs and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina affected by the COVID-19 crisis with more favourable and affordable conditions. The companies will be able to use the EIB funds to finance their liquidity, working capital and medium to long-term investment needs.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who responsible for the Bank's activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: "The EIB continues to support growth and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina with this significant investment signed today. We are dedicated to creating the conditions needed for a faster COVID-19 recovery and the transition of regional economy towards a more resilient, green, sustainable model, able to compete successfully on the global markets. We are glad to have partners like UniCredit Bank Banja Luka that are able to extend our financial support directly to companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus saving jobs and incomes for thousands of people."
Teodora Petkova, Head of Eastern Europe at UniCredit stated: "We continue to be committed to providing ongoing support for the development of local businesses and economies through these initiatives in order to accelerate the COVID-19 recovery. This represents another concrete step towards ensuring cash flow continuity especially for SMEs, which represent one of key pillars of the economies of the Western Balkans, allowing them to finance working capital and investment programmes. At UniCredit, we work closely with our subsidiaries in all countries to make decisive and tangible actions in being part of the solution, ensuring continuity for both production and the supply chain in the economies of Eastern Europe".
Gordan Pehar, President of the Management Board at UniCredit Bank A.D. Banja Luka, said: "Our very effective cooperation with the EIB up until now has laid the groundwork for this new partnership, which I am very pleased to sign. UniCredit Bank Banja Luka has previously successfully placed a total of €45 million of funds with favourable conditions on our market. This new agreement allows us to keep supporting the community and continue showing our commitment to strengthening the economy of Republika Srpska. We look forward to start placing these new funds with our existing and new clients as a way to grow together."
Increased access to finance for SMEs in the Western Balkans
The EIB has a well-established relationship with UniCredit, which has implemented several EIB credit lines to date, totalling more than €150 million for financing SMEs and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The latest cooperation, signed in 2020, is a social impact loan for SMEs, established for the first time in Serbia. This innovative type of financing is designed for companies that make a positive impact on their community by providing employment and professional development to people from vulnerable social groups. The EIB plans to roll out this product in the other countries in the region, promoting inclusive employment, women entrepreneurship and jobs for youth.