Bosnia and Herzegovina: Team Europe - EIB to accelerate recovery of SMEs in Western Balkans with new loans signed today with two UniCredit members banks
28 June 2021
The EIB has signed two loans with UniCredit in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia totalling up to €100 million to boost support for small and medium-sized businesses for faster COVID-19 recovery.
This investment contributes to the strengthening of the private sector, supporting jobs, liquidity and expansion of business operations.
The new loans signed today bring the total amount of credit lines provided so far by the EIB for SMEs’ COVID-19 recovery under Team Europe’s financial support for the Western Balkans to €475 million.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and UniCredit A.D. Banja Luka (UBBL) have signed an agreement to provide up to €50 million financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Mid-Caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina to help them meet the challenge of recovering from the COVID-19 crisis. The loan will help companies to overcome the financial constraints brought about by the pandemic, maintaining liquidity and jobs. This is the third credit line provided by the EIB in support of companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Team Europe financial package for COVID-19 recovery of the Western Balkans. With the new loan signed today, the total EIB financing for COVID-19 recovery provided to SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina since the start of the pandemic will reach €95 million.
UBBL will on-lend the funds to SMEs and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina affected by the COVID-19 crisis with more favourable and affordable conditions. The companies will be able to use the EIB funds to finance their liquidity, working capital and medium to long-term investment needs.
EIB Vice-President Lilyana Pavlova, who responsible for the Bank’s activities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “The EIB continues to support growth and development of Bosnia and Herzegovina with this significant investment signed today. We are dedicated to creating the conditions needed for a faster COVID-19 recovery and the transition of regional economy towards a more resilient, green, sustainable model, able to compete successfully on the global markets. We are glad to have partners like UniCredit Bank Banja Luka that are able to extend our financial support directly to companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thus saving jobs and incomes for thousands of people.”
Teodora Petkova, Head of Eastern Europe at UniCredit stated: “We continue to be committed to providing ongoing support for the development of local businesses and economies through these initiatives in order to accelerate the COVID-19 recovery. This represents another concrete step towards ensuring cash flow continuity especially for SMEs, which represent one of key pillars of the economies of the Western Balkans, allowing them to finance working capital and investment programmes. At UniCredit, we work closely with our subsidiaries in all countries to make decisive and tangible actions in being part of the solution, ensuring continuity for both production and the supply chain in the economies of Eastern Europe”.
Gordan Pehar, President of the Management Board at UniCredit Bank A.D. Banja Luka, said: “Our very effective cooperation with the EIB up until now has laid the groundwork for this new partnership, which I am very pleased to sign. UniCredit Bank Banja Luka has previously successfully placed a total of €45 million of funds with favourable conditions on our market. This new agreement allows us to keep supporting the community and continue showing our commitment to strengthening the economy of Republika Srpska. We look forward to start placing these new funds with our existing and new clients as a way to grow together.”
Increased access to finance for SMEs in the Western Balkans
The EIB has a well-established relationship with UniCredit, which has implemented several EIB credit lines to date, totalling more than €150 million for financing SMEs and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia. The latest cooperation, signed in 2020, is a social impact loan for SMEs, established for the first time in Serbia. This innovative type of financing is designed for companies that make a positive impact on their community by providing employment and professional development to people from vulnerable social groups. The EIB plans to roll out this product in the other countries in the region, promoting inclusive employment, women entrepreneurship and jobs for youth.
UniCredit is a simple successful pan-European commercial bank, with a fully plugged in CIB, delivering a unique Italy, Germany, Central Europe and Eastern Europe network to its extensive client franchise. UniCredit offers both local and international expertise to its clients, providing them with unparalleled access to leading banks in its 13 core markets through its European banking network: Italy, Germany, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Leveraging on an international network of representative offices and branches, UniCredit serves clients in another 16 countries worldwide.
About the EIB in Bosnia and Herzegovina
The EU bank has been active in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1977. To date, it has invested €3.1 billion, mostly to the transport sector and small and medium enterprises. For more information regarding the EIB’s projects in Bosnia and Herzegovina, please refer to:
The EIB is one of the leading international financiers in the Western Balkans. Since 2008, the Bank has financed projects totalling €8.6 billion in the region. Besides continuing its support for the reconstruction and upgrading of public infrastructure, since 2010 the EIB has expanded into many new areas, such as healthcare, research and development, education and SMEs. For detailed information on EIB activities in the Western Balkans, please visit the following link: www.eib.org/en/publications/the-eib-in-the-western-balkans
About Team Europe and the COVID-19 response in the Western Balkans
The European Investment Bank (EIB) today signed a €1.2 million cooperation agreement with Republika Srpska to support water and sanitation services. Through the water sector rehabilitation programme, the funds will ensure the effective execution of activities and rapid preparation of the investment projects, with expert technical assistance services. The project aims to upgrade the quality of water and wastewater services, provide these services to unconnected households and improve living conditions for over 216 000 people.
Today, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a cooperation agreement with the Canton of Sarajevo and the University of Sarajevo to support the development of a master plan for the main campus in the city centre. The €500 000 grant is being provided under the Urban Projects Finance Initiative (UPFI) in partnership with the French development bank AFD, and financed by the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI). It will enable the preparation of a master plan and feasibility study for the integration of different educational and scientific research units of the University of Sarajevo into one consolidated campus.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Intesa Sanpaolo Banka dd BiH (ISP BiH) have signed a €30 million loan to accelerate recovery of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in Bosnia and Herzegovina in response to the financial constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds will enable ISP BiH to on-lend to companies in the industrial, tourism, agriculture and services sectors. The aim is to enable access to medium and long-term funding for local companies under more flexible and favourable conditions and to help them sustain their activity, growth and employment levels in this challenging economic context.