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Dec 21, 2017 16:49 EEST
December 21 (SeeNews) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Thursday that it invested this year 130 million euro ($154 million), an all-time record high, in Moldova in support of the country's private sector and infrastructure.
The increase in financing came despite constraints such as the low level of domestic and foreign investment, bottlenecks in implementing infrastructure projects and remaining issues in the banking sector, the EBRD said in a press release.
"By unlocking opportunities in the banking sector, the EBRD will be able to step up financing for small and medium-sized enterprises. We will continue working with the authorities to develop infrastructure in line with Moldova’s macroeconomic framework, which was agreed with the International Monetary Fund," EBRD’s Chisinau office head office in Chisinau Dimitri Gvindadze said.
During 2017, the EBRD facilitated a breakthrough in the banking sector as Romanian lender Banca Transilvania announced its intention to invest in Victoriabank, Moldova’s third-largest lender. This will be the first time in a decade that a foreign bank investor will have entered the Moldovan market and is a major step towards the recovery and modernisation of the financial sector, the bank said.
Also, the bank joined forces with the European Union, European Investment Bank and World Bank, the EBRD to co-finance Moldova’s electricity interconnections with Romania through a 80 million euro loan.
The EBRD also continued to finance energy efficiency improvements in public buildings in Moldova’s capital, Chisinau.
During this year, the bank extended the second 27.5 million euro tranche of its 52.5 million loan to the state-owned railway company, Calea Ferata din Moldova, to improve railway infrastructure, upgrade rolling stock and modernise the company.
Also, the EBRD continued financing private companies through its strong, long-term partner – Mobiasbanca - Groupe Société Générale, through a 20 million euro loan to back local firms working to meet EU standards.
Looking ahead, the EBRD said it will continue lending, directly and through banks, to Moldovan companies with viable business models and will finance public infrastructure projects and will work with the authorities to support reforms in the area of public procurement.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Moldova. Since the start of its operations in the country, the bank has invested over 1.2 billion euro in almost 120 projects in Moldova’s financial, agribusiness, energy, infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.
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