LONDON, July 7 -- The European Union'sEuropean Bank for Reconstruction and Development issued the following news release:
The EBRD is providing a Euros73.4 million syndicated loan to the Croatian food and pharmaceutical producer Podravka that will enable the company to restructure its balance sheet and prepare for future expansion.
The loan will comprise an A loan portion of up to Euros30 million for the EBRD's own account, and a B loan portion of up to Euros43.4 million for the account of the participating banks Erste Group Bank AG, Raiffeisen Bank International AG and Unicredit Bank Austria AG.
Podravka - founded in 1934, nationalised in 1947 and privatised in 1993 - is one of the leading branded-food companies in south-eastern Europe today, with a strong presence in the Western Balkans, central Europe and Russia. The company is listed on the Zagreb Stock Exchange with Croatian pension funds and state-controlled institutions as the two largest groups of investors. In recent years the company has achieved substantial operational and financial improvements.
Phil Bennett, EBRD First Vice President, said at the signing in London today: "This new loan demonstrates our continuous commitment to Podravka as a long-term partner. Our faith in the company's prospects has been confirmed by the capital markets. The new funds will allow Podravka to maintain a stable position on the domestic market and grow regionally through the successful completion of its current restructuring plan. Our financing will provide a framework for Podravka to further improve and grow."
Zvonimir Mrsic, President of the Management Board of Podravka, added: "Podravka is striving to upgrade the competitiveness of its branded-product portfolio and to grow in international markets. Podravka's management is dedicated to continuous efficiency improvements within our whole group to provide faster growth. We recognise the EBRD's support for our further development as a long-term partner."
The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country's independence and to date has invested some Euros2.9 billion in almost 160 projects. The Bank's activities include all areas of the economy and are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.
TNS 30FurigayJane-140708-4789600 30FurigayJane