The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a financing package of up to €123 million to the Croatian food and pharmaceutical producer Podravka d.d.
The funds will be used to strengthen the company’s continued operational and financial restructuring, creating a stable platform for further growth, enabling the company’s access to long-term finance and promoting further integration into global value chains. The EBRD’s committed portion will be up to €21.6 million, with the balance provided by other participants in the package and by parallel lenders, according to EBRD.
Podravka operates in two strategic business areas: food and beverages, and pharmaceuticals. The pharmaceutical segment is organised under the fully owned subsidiary Belupo. With the acquisition of Žito in 2015, Podravka diversified its operations into the bakery, rice, flour and milling markets. Today, Podravka is one of the leading branded-food companies in south-eastern Europe, with a strong international presence. The company is listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange with Croatian pension funds and state-controlled institutions as the two largest groups of investors in the firm.
Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director, Regional Head of Croatia and Slovenia, said: “We welcome this opportunity to strengthen and deepen our relationship with Podravka, a Croatian company which is increasingly becoming a major international player. Supporting the regional expansion of companies in countries where we invest is one of the EBRD’s current strategic goals and the financing package we are signing today is a perfect example of this. The new phase of development will see Podravka and its Slovenian subsidiary Žito go from strength to strength.”
Miljan Zdrale, EBRD Associate Director, Regional Head of Agribusiness for Central and South-Eastern Europe, added: “Regional expansion and the strengthening of economic ties is the way forward for companies as they develop and grow. New markets offer new opportunities and we see Podravka as very well placed to convert these opportunities into success – for the company, but also for its customers in Croatia and in Slovenia too.”
Zvonimir Mršić, President of the Management Board of Podravka, concluded: “The successful conclusion of this financial support is confirmation of the trust that the EBRD and financial institutions have in the international potential of Podravka’s business as well as in the quality and potential of Podravka’s management. It will also further enhance our international positioning and investments.”
The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and has invested some €3.5 billion in 189 projects to date. The Bank’s activities there include all sectors of the economy and are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.
The EBRD’s strategic plan for the countries where it invests for the period 2016-18 has three priorities: strengthening economic resilience, addressing global challenges and supporting regional integration.