The European Investment Bank (EIB), the EU bank, has signed two loans totalling EUR 80 million in Serbia with Société Generale Bank Serbia (SGRS) and Sogelease Serbia (SLRS) in support of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), midcaps and infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities. The loans are designed to assist Serbia in its efforts to integrate into the European Union (EU).

“With these two credit lines we reaffirm the EU bank’s commitment to support projects in Serbia with the objective of helping the country on its path towards EU accession and rapid integration into the Union. The loans will improve the access of Serbian SMEs and midcap companies to long-term financing provided on favourable terms”, said Dario Scannapieco, the EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, “and I am really pleased with our ongoing cooperation with the Serbian authorities and the financial institutions”.

As for the details, a EUR 60 million loan was signed today in Belgrade with SGRS (the Serbian subsidiary of Paris-based Sociéte Générale): the EIB loan will finance the projects of SMEs and medium-sized companies involving the knowledge economy, environmental protection, health, education and services and also support small and medium-scale infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities in those fields. A minimum of 70% of the loan amount will be allocated to SMEs and midcap projects. In the current environment the operation will increase the availability of funding for SMEs, the key drivers of economic and social progress in Serbia, with a reduction in the overall financing costs.

The EIB also signed a loan of EUR 20 million out of a total of EUR 40 million already approved with SLRS, the leasing company wholly owned by SGRS, with features similar to the one mentioned above.

Since 2009, the EIB has signed EUR 1.2 billion’s worth of loans with banks and leasing companies in Serbia, supporting investments in SMEs, midcaps and local authorities. These operations have involved the largest banking groups in the country.