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IFC Supports Entrepreneurs in Serbia through Financing to NLB Continental Banka


In Washington, D.C.:
Thoko Moyo

Phone: +1 (202) 458-8517

E-mail:
TMoyo@ifc.org


Novi Sad, Serbia, June 14, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has agreed to provide a €20 million credit line to NLB Continental Banka of Novi Sad in Serbia.  With that loan, the bank will expand its term financing to small and medium enterprises and extend its retail and consumer lending activities.

Edward Nassim, IFC’s incoming regional vice president for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, said, “The partnership with NLB Continental Banka supports a pioneering bank in Serbia and a Slovenian  banking- financial group with a clear strategy to develop financial services in the Balkans. The project is aligned with IFC's strategy that encourages access to finance through the provision of term products for smaller businesses and individuals, particularly in housing finance.”

Signing for NLB  Continental Banka was done by Messrs. Zoran Djurovic, General Director and Pavel Martinuc, Deputy General Director

“By partnering with IFC, NLB Continental Banka is able to tap into long term resources and diversify our funding, which supports our strategy of further strengthening a formidable banking group that can compete on a regional scale’, said Mr. Djurovic.

The IFC credit line will enable long-term financing for individuals and for small and medium enterprises. An important product will be mortgage financing, which has been of limited availability to date.

Continental Banka was privatized in July 2005 and acquired by the leading Slovenian  banking - financial group, NLB Group. The IFC investment is expected to support the bank’s turnaround and business expansion. It also supports IFC’s strategy to develop the financial services sector in the Balkans by working with regional banks.

About NLB Group


Today, NLB Group represents the largest banking- financial group in Slovenia. Besides holding a considerable share of the Slovenian market, it is present in EU Markets (Germany, Austria, Italy,Czeck Republic, Slovakia, Great Britain) SE Europe markets (Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Russia.  Accordingly, NLB Group is addressing an overall population of 35 million people. The NLB Group has 59 members in 16 countries, 17 of which are banks, 11 financial leasing companies, 12 trade finance companies (factoring, forfeiting, export financing), 3 insurance companies, 3 asset-management companies while 13 companies are engaged in other activities.  With almost EUR 13 billion of total assets and 1,500 correspondence relations in 140 countries the NLB Group services over three million clients and has has more than 8.000 employees.International credit ratings that allow the NLB Group access to international financing sources on favourable terms are: Moody's A2, Fitch A- and Capital Intelligence A-. For more information, visit
http://www.nlbgroup.si/

About NLB Continental Banka


NLB Continental banka a.d. Novi Sad is a universal commercial bank serving companies, small and medium business and individuals. It holds approximately 1.7 percent of market share in terms of total assets in Serbia, while this figure is considerably higher in Vojvodina, an economically important region.  The bank's market share is constantly increasing due to its very good business results – such as last year's growth of  33% in its balance sheet, 41% in its placements and 26% in its deposits.   Also, several major projects were undertaken in order to further improve the Bank’s performance and to transform its operations and business structure to a modern financial institution.  Its wide network of branches and agencies comprises 73 offices in all major industrial centers in Vojvodina and Belgrade. For more information, visit
http://www.cont.co.yu

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.