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EU, EBRD and Ardshinbank team up to provide fresh funds for Armenian firms

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are supporting Armenian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) by boosting access to finance via Ardshinbank.

The leading Armenian bank will receive a financial package of USD 20 million, comprising two equal loans, from the EBRD for on-lending to the private sector. Half of this amount will be on-lent to Armenian firms to foster their growth and development, and the other USD10 million – co-financed by the European Union – will support investments in environmentally friendly equipment and production upgrades that meet EU standards.

This financing will enable borrowers to enhance their competitiveness and diversify their export markets. It will also support the implementation of health and safety measures, as well as the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and resource efficiency. At least 70 per cent of the loan will be allocated to funding green technologies.

Borrowers will benefit from free support from international consultants and will receive cash-back incentives upon completion of their investment projects. Both are funded by the EU under its SME Competitiveness programme and contribute to the aims of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) Economic and Investment Plan, which include supporting 30,000 SMEs in Armenia.

The financing is part of a joint programme, the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, for which the EU provides investment incentive grants and technical assistance. This programme is also available in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East and Institution building at the European Commission, said: “This is an investment in the future of both businesses and the environment. The European Union is proud to support this new concessional credit line. This is yet another demonstration that our Economic and Investment Plan for Armenia is delivering on the ground.”

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions, said: “I am delighted to announce that with today’s signing, Ardshinbank has joined our flagship programme designed to make local firms greener and more competitive, at home and abroad. This cooperation with our financial partner, along with the support of our longstanding donor, the European Union, allows us to step up support for Armenian firms. We look forward to seeing more Armenian products and Armenian brands going global.”

Ardshinbank’s Chairman of the Management Board, Artak Ananyan noted: “Ardshinbank is committed to enhancing the resilience of enterprises and firms through the implementation of more efficient and energy-saving practices. With our extensive regional network, a substantial portion of these funds will be strategically directed to fortify SMEs across multiple regions. This streamlined approach undeniably fosters an environment conducive to the prosperity of SMEs, cultivating competitiveness both domestically and internationally. Moreover, this plays a pivotal role in driving the ongoing economic development of our country.” The EU4Business-EBRD SME Competitiveness programme is an EU-funded programme, which provides incentives for capex investments in advanced technologies and processes for SMEs in the Eastern Partnership region. In addition, the programme provides technical assistance to SMEs to improve their competitiveness.