Retail sector in Western Balkans gets EUR 164mn in loans

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the IFC have approved EUR 164 million in loans to the investment firm Hystead.

Source: B92
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According to an EBRD press release, the financial package includes a EUR 60 million loan from the EBRD and a EUR 104 million loan from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - whose financing includes a EUR 60 million ďAĒ loan from IFCís own account and a loan of EUR 44 million from IFCís Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP).

Funding for the loan under IFC’s MCPP is provided by the People’s Bank of China.

The funds will refinance an existing loan and improve the company’s capital structure, and also support the expansion and upgrade of the three shopping centers, the bank announced.

Hystead is a London-based company and an important investor in the Western Balkans, the EBRD said, adding that the company owns Delta City shopping malls in Belgrade and Podgorica as well as Skopje City Mall.

EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett said the bank "in particular applauds the company’s commitment to offering greater training and job opportunities to young people."

"Sustainable management of buildings is a complex, interdisciplinary area and on-the-job learning is crucial for those who seek a career in real estate project planning and management with focus on environment. Hystead is a great example of foreign investment bringing know-how, creating jobs and boosting the regional economy," Bennett said.

“This is IFC’s third capital markets-focused investment in commercial property in the eastern Europe region in the last 18 months. It’s an exciting time for IFC, as we find innovative ways to support the property sector,” said Lukas Casey, IFC Manager for Manufacturing and Services for the Europe, Middle East and North Africa regions. “We are very pleased to support skills training, retail infrastructure, green buildings, south-south investments and attracting commercial capital to the region.”

The press release cited Hystead CEO Alex Papageorgiou as saying: “We are pleased to partner with the EBRD and IFC and their loan is testament to the quality of Hystead’s portfolio and asset management expertise. We strive to create value for stakeholders, while balancing our impact on the environment and the communities in which we operate; this is evident through our planned commitment to sustainable building management and youth development programs.”

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