The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing the Croatian distributor Orbico d.o.o. with a loan of up to €20 million to support the company’s expansion and efficiency improvements. The EBRD loan will be matched by a loan of the same size provided by Zagrebačka banka, Croatia’s largest bank.
Orbico is one of the leading distributors of fast-moving consumer goods in Croatia. The holding company of the same name is the largest company of its kind in central and south-eastern Europe, with operations in 18 countries and more than 3,000 employees.
The loan will enable Orbico to finance the acquisition of 80 per cent of the leading Polish distributor Distribev sp.z.o.o, and expand its operations in Poland. Orbico will also invest in improving the efficiency of its subsidiary in Bulgaria and restructure its balance sheet in Slovenia, according to EBRD.
While the company has strategic partnerships with major global producers, it is also important in the markets where it operates because of its close links with local small and medium-sized enterprises. Orbico has developed a unique programme that supports local and regional producers in expanding to foreign markets through the provision of marketing, logistics and customer services. As an example, the acquisition of the Polish distributor Distribev will support exports by Croatian and Bosnian producers into Poland.
Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director for Croatia, said: “The joint financing provided by the EBRD and Zagrebačka banka will allow Orbico to enhance its international operations and strengthen its role as a bridge between corporates from the EU member countries and countries with the ambition of joining the EU. This exchange of know-how, standards and expertise is an invaluable support in accessing the EU market. Thanks to Orbico’s strong links with local suppliers this will generate a strong impact.”
Branko Roglić, owner of Orbico, stated: “Intensive growth in the region requires a reliable partner, particularly when financing a new acquisition. Zagrebačka banka, a member of the Unicredito Group, has supported us so far and we have developed a successful partnership, not only in Croatia but also in other countries where Orbico operates. The financing of the acquisition of Distribev, a Polish company and the distributor of Heineken on the Polish market, was supported by both Zagrebačka banka and the EBRD. We are very satisfied with our cooperation during the preparatory process and during negotiations with both sides. We believe that it will be in our mutual interest to cooperate further in future.”
Marko Remenar, member of the Board of Zagrebačka banka, said: “It is of strategic interest to Zagrebačka banka thaty we support our clients that are leaders in the Croatian economy, that excel in international competitiveness and have the capacity and know-how to take advantage of the large EU market. This step is important not only for Orbico but also for a wide range of Orbico’s partners to whom new markets have also opened. Hence, this is an important step for the wider Croatian economy. Zagrebačka banka will continue to strongly support Croatian entrepreneurs and help them accomplish their international ambitions and their further growth on the EU markets.”
The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and has invested some €3.26 billion in 182 projects to date. The Bank’s activities cover all areas of the economy but are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.