Thursday, October 10 2019 18:24
Karine Melikyan

EFSE provides multi-currency loan to ARARATBANK

EFSE provides multi-currency loan to ARARATBANK

ArmInfo.The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) has once again teamed up with long-time partner ARARATBANK to drive local business growth in Armenia, as the press service of the bank informs by providing a multi-currency  senior loan equivalent to USD 10 million, the fund is supporting the  bank in offering tailored financial products that meet the needs of  micro and small enterprises, thereby strengthening the development of  this important sector while securing and creating jobs in the  country.

This next chapter in the partners' ongoing collaboration was  confirmed at an EFSE signing ceremony celebrating the Power of Local  Currency Financing in Chi?inau, Moldova, on 10 October.

ARARATBANK has been a key EFSE partner in Armenia since 2010. The  bank's solid positioning, extensive branch network, and strategic  focus on the small business market have enabled ARARATBANK and EFSE  to generate more than EUR 58 million in financing for micro and small  enterprises so far. The new investment will continue this momentum:  Comprised of both a USD portion and a local currency facility, the  loan  will contribute to the bank's ability to flexibly cater to the  specific financing needs of entrepreneurs, eliminating direct  exposure to currency risk for these unhedged businesses. 

EFSE Board Chairman Christoph Tiskens said: "Partners like ARARATBANK  are essential to helping EFSE pursue its mission of expanding access  to sustainable finance for local businesses.  By facilitating loans  in local currency, we are, together, investing in the stability and  secure growth of small businesses, which are one of the main drivers  of the country's economy." 

"It should be noted that during the nine years of cooperation  ARARATBANK financed over 1,500 business projects in different  sectors, creating an added value for borrowers as well as for the  Armenian economy," said Ashot Osipyan, Chairman of the Executive  Board of ARARATBANK. According to him, signing a new contract in  local currency will keep the beneficiaries of the project away from  foreign exchange risks, which in its turn will boost the  profitability and competitiveness of the companies in the local  market. "I am glad about the signing of this contract, which  reaffirms the mutual trust and continued cooperation between our  institutions," A. Osipyan said. 

It is worth noting that this is ARARATBANK's second agreement in 2019  on a loan from EFSE. Namely, in April of this year ARARATBANK and  EFSE Fund signed an agreement on a synthetic loan for the AMD  equivalent of $ 15 million, which were also aimed at developing micro  and small businesses in Armenia.

To note, an impact investment  fund established in 2005, the European  Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) aims to foster economic development  and prosperity in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Neighbourhood  Region by investing in the success of micro and small enterprises as  well as improved living conditions for private households.  As access  to financial services is key to developing this segment, EFSE focuses  on helping local financial sectors strengthen their ability to  provide responsible financing for this target group. Alongside its  investment activities through local partners, EFSE multiplies its  impact through the EFSE Development Facility, which provides  technical assistance, training, and other nonfinancial support to  entrepreneurs and institutions.

EFSE was initiated by KfW Development Bank with the financial support  of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and  Development (BMZ) and the European Commission. As the first  public-private partnership of its kind, EFSE draws its capital from  donor agencies, international financial institutions, and private  institutional investors.  According to the Financial Rating of the  Banks of Armenia as of December 31, 2018, prepared by IC ArmInfo, the  credit investments of ARARATBANK reached 126.5 billion drams ($ 261.6  million). In the bank's loan portfolio, the share of lending to SMEs  exceeds 45%, amounting to 57.7 billion drams in absolute terms (6th  position in the market), with a y-o-y growth of 13.8%. And in the  total credit investments of banks in the SME sector, ARARATBANK's  share reaches 8%. ARARATBANK completed the year 2019 with a net  profit of 2.3 billion drams ($ 4.7 million), with a y-o-y growth of  9.7%.  ARARATBANK cooperates with 14 reputable financial  institutions.  To recall, the OJSC "ARARATBANK" has been operating  since November 2005. The majority shareholders of ARARATBANK as of  January 1, 2019 are one of the largest oil traders in Armenia- the  Flash company with a 72.33% equity stake, Barsegh Beglaryan (a  well-known entrepreneur, the head of the Flash) - 18.33%, the Rural  Impulse Fund II (part of the Belgian Incofin Investment Management -  Incofin IM) - 8.58%. 

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