The European Investment Bank (EIB), in its capacity as manager of the JESSICA Holding Fund for Bulgaria, has concluded an agreement establishing an Urban Development Fund with “Regional Urban Development Fund” (“UDF”) to invest in urban projects in six major cities in Bulgaria.

The UDF is established as a joint stock company by Societe Generale Expressbank, Elana Holding, Elana Investment and Balkan Advisors, namely the members of a consortium led by Societe Generale Expressbank, to invest approximately EUR 18.8 million of JESSICA funds and around an additional EUR 37.6 million of its own funds (in total EUR 56.4 million) over the next four years in urban projects located in the cities of Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Stara Zagora and Pleven.

EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer commented: “In addition to lending operations, the EIB provides professional expertise under the JESSICA initiative, an innovative instrument focused on more efficient utilisation of EU Structural Funds, which aims to create revolving funds investing in sustainable urban development projects”.

On the basis of their specific experience and know-how, the consortium partners are expected to fulfil the main objectives of the UDF, i.e. to support sustainable urban transformation investments aimed at more competitive, socially inclusive and sustainable urban areas, fostering better quality of life and welfare as well as improved accessibility to basic public and private services. The JESSICA investment portfolio in the above-mentioned six major cities may include projects with the following scope: rehabilitation of deprived urban areas, basic infrastructure works, energy networks and energy efficiency in the context of a wider urban development plan, etc.

The Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (“Managing Authority”) established a JESSICA Holding Fund (“HF”) within the EIB with the aim of deploying EU Structural Funds for revitalisation investments in city areas. The respective Funding Agreement was signed on 29 July 2010.

Societe Generale Expressbank (“SGEB”): one of the leading Bulgarian banks, a subsidiary of France’s Société Générale S.A. (“SG”), a major European financial services company with a substantial global presence. Following the SG policy on local markets, SGEB applies the model of universal commercial bank, offering its clientele the full range of banking services. SGEB implements modern banking practices and new technologies to service a wide range of customers, including individuals and liberal profession specialists, small and medium-sized enterprises, large corporate and financial institutions. The long-term issuer default rating assigned to SGEB is BBB+ with a positive long-term rating outlook.

ELANA Holding: one of the largest non-banking financial groups in Bulgaria and co-fund manager of the Bulgarian Energy Efficiency Fund Initiative (“BEEF”). For the past seven years through BEEF, ELANA Holding has been successfully supporting local authorities/municipal administrations and public investments in the field of promoting energy efficiency activities by way of arranging bilateral and syndicated loans, guarantees and other financial products.

ELANA Investment: a leading Bulgarian expert in consulting enterprises and public administration on funding from EU and international donor programmes.

Balkan Advisors: an international investment consulting firm with experience in real estate, media and strategic consulting in Bulgaria and the Balkans.