The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is lending its support to UniCredit Leasing Corporation (UCLC), Romania’s top leasing company, to increase access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and to provide more climate finance to its clients across the country. The €27.5 million investment will generate jobs, boost energy-efficiency measures, and help reduce carbon emissions.
Access to finance for businesses in Romania, particularly for micro, small and medium sized enterprises, is limited and the country has a reduced level of financial intermediation. IFC’s investment will help bridge this financing gap, with UCLC directing 60 percent of it to SMEs and at least 40 percent to climate-related projects.
“Accessing this new line of financing comes as a natural step in the traditional relationship we have with IFC. UniCredit Leasing will use these funds to support the SME segment, but also in financing structures for assets that will lead to reduced emissions and promote green energy production, in line with the broader sustainability strategy of the UniCredit Group”, said Daniela Bodirca, CEO of the UniCredit Leasing Corporation. “As leaders of the leasing industry in Romania, we offer customers competitive offers designed to support their development plans and pay maximum attention to service quality”.
This financing will also support UCLC in the implementation of a new green financing business line and strategy. UCLC will continue to maintain appropriate environmental and social management systems for related leasing portfolio, including providing tools and trainings that leverage IFC global experience in climate financing.
“This operation will help diversify the funding mechanisms available for the SME sector, which is an underserved segment in Romania”, said Vittorio Di Bello, IFC’s Regional Head of Industry for Financial Institutions in Europe and Central Asia. “Moreover, it will enable our long-standing client UCLC to build capacity to successfully finance energy-efficiency projects. Clearly, sustainable growth will take a new importance as we recover from the current crisis in the region, representing new business opportunities for financial institutions that are best equipped to seize them”.
An IFC client since 2017, UCLC is a fully consolidated subsidiary of the UniCredit Group of Italy. The proposed project builds on IFC’s existing relationship with both the company and the group, especially in SME finance, and will represent IFC’s first engagement with the company in the climate-finance space.