EBRD and EU help SMEs in post-Soviet countries meet European standards

On January 22 the EBRD and Raiffeisen Bank Aval signed a Risk Sharing Facility. Loans to small and medium-sized enterprises in Ukraine and to selected larger companies will become available to a bigger number of domestic firms. It’s expected that a Risk Sharing Facility will support increasing the size of loans to businesses across Ukraine. The particular results will be achieved through the enhanced risk-taking capacity of Raiffeisen Bank Aval in partnership with the EBRD. Under the project, the EBRD will share the risk on individual loans made by Raiffeisen Bank Aval to SMEs in the total amount of up to 20 million euros over a period of three years.

Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Aval, stated: “We are pleased to announce the start of our cooperation with the EBRD within the framework of another important project, which widens our capacity for long-term financing and technical support of medium-sized businesses. Last year, we issued loans to more than 1100 companies, including 300 new clients. The programme is an opportunity to double our support for Ukrainian companies in their business development. This sphere has been and remains one of the priorities of our bank.”

Borrowers under the RSF will have an opportunity to benefit from the complex package of technical assistance available through the EU4Business programme, financed by the European Union and managed by the EBRD. Ukrainian companies will tap into the prime international expertise in areas such as IT development, financial management and the optimisation of management processes.         Sevki Acuner, EBRD Director for Ukraine, noted: “We would like to welcome our long-term partner Raiffeisen Bank Aval to the EBRD’s Risk Sharing Facility. I am sure that this project will contribute to the development of SME lending and the growth of the banking sector in the country. It will improve access to finance for Ukrainian companies, upgrade their business practices, and help to share risk among responsible lenders.”

In Georgia, the road construction company Indico purchased wheel excavators, sand and gravel processors and other equipment with the help of EU4Business – EBRD Credit Line, which provides technical assistance to SMEs. Through the investments, the company has been able to enhance quality, boost its productivity, replacing old technologies with environmentally friendly updates. “With modern equipment and European standards in-house, we hope to be tasked with the construction of highways and roads for better connectivity, and to play our modest part in boosting trade and prosperity for the good of our country,” – stressed Ioseb Gadelia, founder of the road construction company Indico.

In 2014 Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed Association Agreements, which included the establishment of a free trade area between each of the three countries and the EU. In this context, the EBRD and EU have offered support to small and medium-sized enterprises in these countries.