by Gayane Isahakyan
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) expanded its partnership with Araratbank OJSC (Araratbank, the Bank) by issuing an additional USD 12 million senior loan to fund sub-loans destined for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Armenia.
Araratbank is a long-standing partner lending institution of the EFSE that has always shown a strong commitment to serving the Fund's target group of MSE owners, and thus to supporting the economic activity in the country. This additional long-term financing provided by EFSE will enable Araratbank to offer loans with longer maturity and address the working capital and investment needs of MSEs in a sustainable way.
"Since our cooperation began four years ago, Araratbank has consistently proved a trustworthy and successful partner for the EFSE," says Monika Beck, Chairperson of the Board of the EFSE. "Supporting Araratbank's ability to provide long-term financing is essential to foster responsible banking practices, and therefore to fulfil the EFSE's mission of facilitating sustainable financing for micro and small enterprises."
"This latest senior loan is the fourth credit facility Araratbank OJSC has obtained from the EFSE, and this fact alone is the best evidence for the strength and stability of the relationship between our two institutions. Within the framework of the previous agreements, we provided loans for 967 projects related to micro and small enterprise activities. The EFSE's funding enabled us to offer our clients financing under long-term, affordable and competitive terms and to diversify our loan portfolio," stated Ashot Osipyan, CEO of Araratbank OJSC, touching upon the new loan agreement signed for the purposes of stimulating micro and small enterprises in Armenia. He also saluted the effectiveness with which the EFSE Development Facility provided technical assistance in improving the Bank's risk management structures, branch network management and internal audit systems. The senior loan will specifically serve to finance sub-loans with an interest rate in the 10-11% range and a 5-year maturity.
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) was initiated by KfW Development Bank (KfW) with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission. It aims to foster economic development and prosperity in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey. As access to finance is a key success factor in developing the micro, small and medium enterprise segments, the EFSE focuses on assisting local financial sectors in strengthening their ability to ensure adequate and sustainable financing. The funding the EFSE provides as long-term finance primarily for micro and small enterprises (MSEs) – but also for private households in the form of home improvement loans – is channelled to these loan customers through local partner lending institutions. Supporting the EFSE's investment activities is the EFSE Development Facility, which provides partner lending institutions with technical assistance, consulting and training services to build operational capacities and professional management.
Initiated by KfW Development Bank (KfW) on 15 December 2005 from four multi-donor programs under its management, the EFSE is the first public-private partnership of its kind and the first privately managed fund in development finance to leverage private funding for MSE finance in the target region. Capital is provided by donor agencies, international financial institutions and private institutional investors, including the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Commission (EC), the Government of Albania, Small and Medium Business Credit Support CJSC (SMBCS), a subsidiary of the Central Bank of Armenia, the Development Bank of Austria (Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank - OeEB), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), KfW as Lead Investor, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Netherlands Finance Company (FMO), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Sal. Oppenheim and Deutsche Bank.
Oppenheim Asset Management Services S.a r.l., Luxembourg, and Finance in Motion GmbH, Germany, are, respectively, the EFSE's Fund Manager and Fund Advisor.
For more information about the European Fund for Southeast Europe, please visit: http://www.efse.lu/
As of 31 March 2014, Araratbank OJSC bank's loan portfolio totalled AMD 61,458 million, with small and medium enterprises accounting for 55.2% of the total loan portfolio. At AMD 131,789 million, total assets were up by AMD 6,553 million or 5.2% compared to the year-end. Liabilities amounted to 111,214 million, up by AMD 5,610 million or 5.3% versus the end of 2013. Total equity amounted to AMD 20,575 million on 31 March 2014, a 4.8% increase (AMD 942 million) compared to the end of 2013. As of 31.03.2014, net profits of Araratbank OJSC for the current year to date amounted to AMD 1,103 million. Media contact EFSE Media Relations Merle Romer Manager Communications and Events e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +49 (0)69 9778 7650-171 Media contact Araratbank Media Relations Anna Baghdasaryan PR Adviser to CEO E email@example.com Tel: +374 (0)91-45-55-85 www.araratbank.am