By Bojana Vlajcic — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €15 million loan to UniCredit Leasing Serbia for on-leasing to local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The loan agreement was signed by EBRD Vice President Allain Pilloux during his official visit to the country. He said: “We are happy to be partnering once again with UniCredit Leasing Serbia to extend this new credit line to support the recovery and development of local businesses. Small businesses account for a substantial segment of the Serbian economy and helping them to invest in green and high-performing equipment and technology will help to increase their competitiveness both domestically and in external markets.”
Ana Milic, President of the Executive Board of UniCredit Leasing Serbia, said: “We are proud that UniCredit Leasing has been recognised as a reliable partner of the EBRD and that we are able to once again support SMEs in our country through this credit line. It is particularly important that SMEs, through this credit line, will be able to continue to improve their energy efficiency and the green economy, which are among the underlying tenets of our business.”
SMEs will also benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of the lease amount. The grants will be funded by Luxembourg, Norway and the United States of America, with other donors expected to participate.
The credit line is part of the EBRD’s new SME Reboot Programme to support small firms’ recovery from the pandemic-induced slowdown. It will also aid the expansion of the green economy in Serbia by promoting investments in energy efficiency improvements. Around 70 per cent of programme funding will be allocated to investments in energy-saving and green technologies, while the remainder will support investments in automation, increased productivity, product quality and safety.
UniCredit Leasing Serbia is a long-standing partner of the EBRD and the third-largest leasing company in the country. The new credit line will underpin UniCredit Leasing’s aim to increase leasing to SMEs, while reaching more businesses outside the capital and attracting new clients.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. The Bank has invested more than €7.3 billion in the country to date. The Bank’s focus in Serbia is on private-sector development, improving public utilities and facilitating the country’s transition to a green economy.