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EBRD Allocates 145 Million Euros for Western Balkan SME Firms

Dec. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has allocated 145 million euros ($190 million) to a new fund to finance small- and medium-size firms in the western Balkans as the region struggles to spur economic growth.

The Western Balkan Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility will “promote the emergence and growth of innovative and high-potential companies” and “the creation of a regional venture capital market,” the London-based lender said in an e-mail today.

The fund will provide equity financing, capital for expansion and development, and loan guarantees to lower the cost of borrowing at small- and medium-size companies, the bank said. The 145 million euros from the EU, international financial institutions, beneficiaries and bilateral donors will eventually amount to more than 300 million euros in direct financing, the bank said.

International lenders, including the EBRD, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank, agreed Nov. 8 on plan for eastern Europe for loans and investment in private and public-sector projects including infrastructure, corporations and financial services.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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