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Nov 06, 2007 11:58 EEST
November 6 (SeeNews) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acquired 33% stake, worth 1.9 million euro ($2.75 million) in a potato producing and processing company in the U.N.-run Serbian province of Kosovo, the bank said.
This is EBRD first ever equity transaction in Kosovo, the bank said in a statement posted on its website.
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The EBRD funds will be used for the expansion of the Pestova company under the brand name Vipa, for the introduction of new products and the purchase of a frozen potato processing line, as well as for the construction of a new warehouse and the purchase of packaging machinery, the statement said.
“As no other investors offer equity financing for local small and medium sized enterprises in Kosovo, this transaction is expected to encourage other dynamic local companies to seek innovative financing which will contribute to the growth of the underdeveloped local economy,” Claudio Viezzoli, EBRD Director for the Western Balkans said in the statement.
EBRD provided the funding under the recently established EBRD-Italy Western Balkans Local Enterprise Facility which provides individual investments in the range of up to 4.0 million euro.
Since 1999, following NATO bombing that expelled Serb forces to end what Western powers said was repression of civilians in fighting an ethnic Albanian rebel insurgency, Kosovo has been under the administration of the U.N. This September, a new round of talks on the status started and is due to finish by December 10. The United States and most EU countries are thought to be ready to recognise Kosovo’s independence, while Russia and Serbia adamantly oppose it. However, Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority have repeatedly said they will unilaterally declare independence the day the talks are scheduled to end regardless of their outcome.
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