World Bank approves €200m loan to help enterprises in Croatia

NEWS 15.05.202111:31 0 komentara
Patrik Macek/PIXSELL, Ilustracija

The World Bank Board of Directors on Friday approved a loan to the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) in the amount of €200 million for the HEAL Croatia Project (Helping Enterprises Access Liquidity in Croatia), the World Bank said on Saturday.

The loan will provide liquidity and financial restructuring to firms that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and by the two devastating earthquakes of 2020.

“The approval of this Project is very important as it provides support to companies affected by the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, thus ensuring the preservation of jobs and providing an incentive for economic recovery. The additional benefit is that it will attract commercial banks to finance the private sector and facilitate financing from other international financial and contribute to increasing the operational efficiency of HBOR. It is important to emphasize that the World Bank provides this Project under very favorable conditions,” said Finance Minister Zdravko Marić.

To mitigate the multiple effects of the pandemic, the Project will support firms focused on export, both small and medium enterprises (firms employing fewer than 250 people) and mid-caps firms (employing from 250 to 3,000 people).

The Project will increase access to finance for firms from less developed regions of Croatia, women-owned or managed firms, and young enterprises (operating less than five years). The Project will also support HBOR’s continued development through improved business processes, strengthens the sustainability and climate change resilience, and use of EU funds.

“Favorable terms and conditions granted by the World Bank will provide us an additional source of finance for further favorable loans to our entrepreneurs. In addition, the World Bank, as the leader in the field of environmental and social management, will support HBOR in enhancing its own Environmental and Social Management System. This will be important as HBOR’s activities in the coming period will be particularly committed to building more capacity for supporting sustainable projects and inclusive growth,” said HBOR Management Board president Tamara Perko.

The HEAL Croatia project complements two other World Bank crisis operations approved last year, the Croatia Crisis Response and Recovery Program and Earthquake Recovery and Public Health Preparedness Project – worth together $500 million, to help mitigate the effects of the economic shock, advance recovery, facilitate earthquake reconstruction and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness for pandemic outbreaks.

“The HEAL Croatia project will contribute to a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery of Croatia, which has been hard hit by the global pandemic, the economic recession, and the devastating earthquakes of March and December 2020,” said Elisabetta Capannelli, the World Bank Country Manager for Croatia.

“We expect the HEAL project to help preserve jobs and support household livelihoods through direct support to approximately 150 firms employing around 25,000 people. It will also help firms led by women, young firms and firms that operate in less developed regions to address issues related to longer-term access to financing,” she added.

In the past 27 years, the World Bank has supported more than 50 projects in Croatia worth almost $5 billion, produced numerous studies, and provided technical assistance to help strengthen institutions and support the design of policies and strategies.

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