EBRD loan facilitates Croatian retail expansion

Related tags Ebrd Economics

Croatian retailer Getro is set to build nine new stores with the
help of a €35 million European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (EBRD) loan.

Some €15 million of the loan will be syndicated to Raiffeisen Zentralbank österreich (RZB), and will help finance the completion of Getro's expansion programme.

The company plans to complete the project by 2007, bringing the total number of stores in Croatia to 24. Getro is also exploring the possibility of expanding into the neighbouring markets of Serbia and Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hans Christian Jacobsen, EBRD director for agribusiness, said Getro's confident expansion will not only deepen competition in the food retailing sector, and thus ultimately benefit costumers, but also mobilise outside capital and demonstrate the enormous potential of the market to other investors.

The organisation said that modern distribution and retail can help improve price transparency, competition and quality standards throughout the food chain.

"The EBRD is again playing an important role in Getro's financial development at a crucial moment for the company,"​ said Getro president Vjekoslav Gucic.

"This loan will help us develop and further improve our domestic market position in a sector where there is strong competition from international retail chains."

Getro remains a family-owned company, with the EBRD holding a minority stake since 2002. The company ranks second in total retail sales with a market share of 7.3 per cent.

In total, the EBRD has signed 218 projects in the agribusiness sector worth more than €3.25 billion. In Croatia, the bank's commitments stand at €1.3 billion through 42 different projects.

The EBRD is a significant player in the economies of central and eastern Europe. Set up in 1991 to help nurture a new private sector within the former Soviet bloc, the EBRD is now the largest single investor in the region and mobilises significant foreign direct investment beyond its own financing.

It is owned by 60 countries and two intergovernmental institutions. But despite its public sector shareholders, it invests mainly in private enterprises, usually together with commercial partners.

The mandate of the EBRD stipulates that it must only work in countries that are committed to democratic principles. The EBRD says that it strongly supports cross-border economic activity within the region.

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