Investments from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in the development of companies in Latvia may increase to a great degree over the next two or three years, Latvian Finance Minister Andris Vilks said at a news conference today.
The minister said, that “the EBRD was established in 1991 with the aim of facilitating the transfer to a market economy and helping to develop entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe. Latvia is a recipient country of EBRD financing, and it has successfully implemented that transfer. This means that over the next two or three years, Latvia’s partnership with the EBRD as a direct investor may rise to a different level – supporting transfrontier investment projects and using the services of Latvian experts to implement EBRD-financed projects in countries which can learn from the good examples of Latvian businesspeople.”
Vilks also said that since 1992, when Latvia became a shareholder in the EBRD, the bank’s financing has allowed Latvia to implement several projects, some of them in the area of energy issues. During the financial crisis, the EBRD helped to ensure market stabilisation by becoming a shareholder in the Parex Bank and, later, the Citadele Bank.
EBRD financing is available for several sectors, including energy security, energy efficiency, strengthening of financial sectors, as well as improving export sectors. The EBRD offers support to manufacturing companies, science-capacious enterprises, and companies which want to invest in energy efficiency projects, renewable energy projects, etc.
Citadele Bank Board chairman Juris Jākobsons said that Latvian companies can approach the Citadele Bank in relation to EBRD financing. Specialists will help to determine the most appropriate forms of financing for each type of project and will ensure that the proposal is forwarded to the EBRD so that financing can be considered.
The Managing Director for the EBRD in Central and Eastern Europe, Jean-Marc Peterschmitt informed that EBRD is continuing to be active and is interested in providing more support for companies in Latvia which want to expand abroad, including in the Baltic States, Poland, the CIS, etc., as well as foreign companies which plan investments in Latvia.
Dainis Locāns, executive director of the Latvian Association of Business Consultants: “Over the past 20 years of change, we have accumulated valuable experience and knowledge in areas such as innovative solutions, organisation of approaches, human resources, as well as economic development. This is a competitive advantage for us, and we can export it by taking part in local and international EBRD projects.”
On March 21, the Citadele Bank hosted a business form for businesspeople that it organised together with the Finance Ministry and the EBRD. It was aimed at discussing the EBRD as a source of project financing. A panel discussion was held to inform businesspeople about such financing, as well as to discuss other support instruments are needed to facilitate entrepreneurship in the country. After the forum, representatives of the Latvian Association of Business Consultants and the EBRD hosted an informational seminar on opportunities for Latvian consultants to take part in EBRD consulting projects.
About the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is an international institution established in 1991 with the purpose of facilitating the transfer of countries in Central and Eastern Europe to a market economy and assisting in the development of entrepreneurship in those countries.
The EBRD offers support in the private and public sector via investments in financial institutions, the infrastructure, manufacturing and trade. The bank’s investments can be used to improve human resources and skills so as to enhance market efficiency and to strengthen the institutions, which support those markets. The main types of financing from the EBRD are loans, investments in equity capital, and guarantees.
The EBRD’s priorities include establishing and strengthening financial sectors, providing support for small and medium companies so that they can launch operations, and assisting such SMEs to grow further. The EBRD also offers support for local governments, environmental infrastructure, energy efficiency, as well as projects in agriculture, telecommunications and transport in terms of restructuring large companies and making investments in the equity capital of enterprises. The EBRD is present in 29 countries. It was 63 members (61 member states, as well as the European Union and the European Investment Bank). It is headquartered in London.
Citadele is the largest local bank in Latvia, which offers banking, financial and asset management services. Citadele Group is represented in the local Latvian market and 10 other countries. It is the only collaboration partner of American Express® in Latvia and Lithuania who is entitled to issue American Express credit cards. Presently, 75% of its shares are owned by Privatization Agency and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development possesses 25% plus one of its shares.
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