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ZAGREB (Croatia), December 6 (SeeNews) - The EBRD, in cooperation with the Croatian Employers’ Association (HUP), introduced the Enterprise Expansion Fund (ENEF), a regional private equity fund focused on development and expansion capital, at a conference in Zagreb on Wednesday.
ENEF provides equity and quasi-equity to selected investee companies, mobilising a total of some 100 million euro ($118.1 million) via direct and parallel co-financing for Croatia and the Western Balkans region, the EBRD said in a statement.
At the conference, which was attended by some of Croatia's biggest companies, the EBRD underscored the role of equity financing in value creation and corporate transformation.
"Small and medium-sized enterprises remain the backbone of the economy in many countries where the EBRD invests and it is crucial to provide them with the support they need," Fabio Serri, EBRD Regional Head of SME Finance and Development for the Western Balkans, said.
"Together with ENEF we have developed targeted models and a tailor-made approach which can offer private businesses in early stages of development vital assistance in financing and other areas."
The EBRD signed its first project in Croatia in 1994 and has invested 3.6 billion euro in 198 projects in the country to date.
ENEF is part of the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) platform, which aims to enhance and support access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises across the region. Under this facility a total of 145 million euro of capital has been pulled together by the EU, international financial institutions (the EBRD, European Investment Fund, German Investment Corporation DEG), beneficiaries and bilateral donors. The EBRD plays a key role in ENEF as its single largest investor and investment adviser.