The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR - Hrvatska banka za obnovu i razvitak) signed in Zagreb today a EUR 250 million loan to support the projects of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The EIB was represented by Dario Scannapieco, Vice-President responsible for operations in Croatia, and HBOR by Dušan Tomašević, President of the Managing Board, and Goran Filipić, Member of the Managing Board.

This is the second part of a credit line for SMEs totalling EUR 500 million, aimed at underpinning the country’s economic recovery after several years of recession; the first EUR 250 million tranche advanced to HBOR, which is owned 100% by the Republic of Croatia, was signed in 2014.

The loan will help to implement projects in the areas of industry, services and tourism and other priority sectors. It forms part of the EIB’s “Jobs for Youth Initiative”, under which the EIB and HBOR will provide additional support to final beneficiaries if they can demonstrate that their investment project financed under the facility has contributed to the creation of jobs for young people.

“This operation reaffirms our commitment to support the Croatian economy and also strengthens our well-established cooperation with HBOR. On the basis of the EIB-HBOR partnership, more than EUR 2 billion of new resources have been channelled to Croatia over recent years through SME, midcap and local municipality projects,” noted Mr Scannapieco.

“We at HBOR have always tried to work alongside, or even ahead of, the needs of our entrepreneurs in order to provide them with the best possible financing terms and conditions and to enable them to improve their competitiveness on both domestic and foreign markets. In this endeavour, we have been extensively supported by the European Investment Bank, which has been cooperating with HBOR for 15 years now,” said Mr Tomašević.

This operation consolidates the strong and effective partnership between the EIB and HBOR. The EIB has already granted loans to HBOR for more than EUR 2 billion, used to support SME projects, midcap companies and public entities in the areas of industry and services, including tourism and small and medium-scale infrastructure schemes promoted by local authorities.