European Investment Bank Signs Loan Agreements with Croatian Partners

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 6, 2018 – The European Investment Bank (EIB) on Tuesday signed loan agreements with the Croatian Bank for Regional Development (HBOR), Croatia’s leading tourism company Valamar Riviera and the Regional Development and EU Funds Ministry.

The agreements were signed by EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco, Regional Development and EU Funds Minister Gabrijela Žalac, Nataša Bereš of Valamar Riviera, and HBOR management board president and board member Tamara Perko and Hrvoje Čuvalo, respectively.

The loan agreement with Valamar Riviera is worth 16 million euro. This is the first EIB transaction in Croatia with a private sector company that benefits from the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financing component of the Investment Plan for Europe (IPE).

The EIB loan will co-finance the completion of the Valamar Girandella Resort with the construction of the first five-star Kinderhotel in Valamar Riviera’s portfolio. With the hotel opening in April this year, the process of repositioning destination Rabac as a leading leisure destination for high-end guests will be completed. This loan is complementary to an intermediated loan of 44 million euro granted to Valamar through Croatia’s public development bank HBOR in March 2017.

This is the first EIB transaction in Croatia with a private sector company that benefits from the support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financing component of the IPE.

In addition to the EFSI operation with Valamar, the EIB also announced the signing of a 15 million loan euro to HBOR to support investments targeting biodiversity conservation and climate adaptation, particularly focusing on green infrastructure projects. This operation benefits from the support of the Natural Capital Financing Facility (NCFF), a financial instrument developed jointly by the EIB and the European Commission. The loan will be accompanied by technical assistance to help HBOR identify and foster eligible business and public-sector investment opportunities in this strategically important field to encourage green growth.

Minister Gabrijela Žalac underscored the importance of this loan agreement. “Croatia has recently established and defined a strategic planning system. Therefore, defining the investment planning system and its integration into the strategic planning system is a great challenge but also a great need of our country. With this contract, signed with and completely funded by the EIB, Croatia will get all the necessary advisory assistance from the international team of top experts whose primary objective will be to assist the Republic of Croatia in identifying strategic investments and to build up a better strategic management system,” Žalac said.

Finance Minister Zdravko Marić said the EIB supported a large number of projects in Croatia. “We are pleased to see the EIB Group activity in Croatia growing both in annual volume and in the variety of products available, well-illustrated through the three agreements signed today. Besides the continuing support to the backbone of the economy through intermediated loans for SMEs and midcaps, we are glad to have the EIB directly supporting private companies. By utilizing the increased risk taking capacity through the European Fund for Strategic Investments, the EIB can enable additional private investments in various sectors of the economy. The advisory support of the EIB through the European Investment Advisory Hub to Croatia is highly appreciated as well. Combined together with the use of European Structural Investment Funds, the EIB Group contribution is invaluable for growth and employment in the Croatian economy,” Marić said.

EIB Vice-President Scannapieco commented: “Today we have presented the results of the EIB Group in Croatia in 2017, which have reached the highest level since 2013. Disbursements, representing our contribution to the real economy, have reached 729 million euro – an increase of 28% compared to 2016. We have also signed the first direct transaction with a private sector company backed by the EFSI guarantee to support tourism in Croatia – one of the most important economic sectors, generating some 20% of Croatia’s GDP and providing 10% of employment in the country. We have also signed an agreement to further improve the quality of EIB advisory services, establishing the European Advisory Hub as the single point of entry in Croatia for support for project preparation.”

EIB Group support in Croatia in 2017 represents 1.22% of the country’s GDP – placing Croatia in third place among EU member states. In 2017, EIB Group operations in Croatia funded 1,100 businesses and supported more than 15,000 jobs.


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