The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are supporting Aversi-Pharma, one of Georgia’s leading healthcare providers, in expanding access to affordable, high-quality medical care.
IFC will provide a €13 million loan to Aversi, supporting a drive by the company to expand its network of healthcare facilities and provide advanced medical services across Georgia. The EBRD will contribute a €5 million loan to the company’s development. The loans will finance the construction of an advanced oncology center in Tbilisi and an outpatient clinic in Telavi, East Georgia. They will also support the acquisition of state-of-the-art medical equipment for both clinics. Many of those services are scarce in Georgia, especially in the country’s outlying regions, according to IFC.
“Accessibility to affordable, high-quality healthcare services is vital for Georgia,” said Paata Kurtanidze, Aversi’s founder. “It contributes to the well-being of our society, promotes the country’s development, and reduces poverty. With support from international finance institutions, we plan to meet increased demand for quality healthcare services in Georgia.”
Bruno Balvanera, EBRD Director for the Caucasus, Moldova, and Belarus said: “We are proud to continue our successful cooperation with Aversi. This project is extremely important for the welfare of the population and will help to improve the healthcare infrastructure of the country. EBRD strives to support Georgia in all its aspects of economic development. This project is also important as it fits with EBRD’s strategy to promote higher energy efficiency, competitiveness, innovative product development, and corporate governance standards among local private companies.”
Jan van Bilsen, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said, “Companies like Aversi demonstrate the impact that the private sector can have on the healthcare industry in developing countries. As the world’s largest multilateral investor in private health care in emerging markets, with over $1.6 billion committed portfolio in health services and life sciences, we provide private companies with long-term financing and global expertise. That enables them to improve the reach and quality of medical care, making life better for people in countries, like Georgia.”
As a result of its expansion, Aversi, which is one of the largest employers in the country with over 8,000 full-time workers, is also expected to create new jobs. As part of the project, Aversi Pharma will also receive up to $127,000 in grants under the EBRD’s FINTECC capital improvement program. The grants will help the company install insulation, efficient heating systems, improved ventilation, and building management system in its hospitals. In 2015, the EBRD provided the company with financing to expand a hospital in Marneuli and to renovate the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Tbilisi.
Private companies are a key part of Georgia’s healthcare system, providing more than 80 percent of the health services in the country. Patients pay only the difference between the fee of the healthcare providers and state’s universal health coverage, which makes healthcare services more affordable for the population. The government reimburses hospitals for the services they provide to patients.
Georgia became an IFC member in 1995. Since then, IFC has committed more than $1.2 billion in long-term financing, of which $436 million was mobilized from partners. Those investments covered 55 projects in the financial services, agribusiness, manufacturing, and infrastructure sectors. In addition, IFC has supported more than $331 million in trade through its trade finance program, and implemented a number of advisory projects focused on developing the private sector in Georgia. In fiscal year 2016, IFC invested almost $19 billion in developing countries worldwide.