EBRD support energy efficiency and SME investments in Georgia

The EBRD is lending $12 million to Cartu Bank to finance energy efficiency projects and support the development of small and medium size (SMEs) enterprises in Georgia.

A $7 million credit line will be used to provide local entrepreneurs with much needed access to medium-term financing, focusing on regions outside of the capital and on sectors such as tourism, agriculture and health care. The sub-loans to small businesses will be for a maximum $500,000.

A further $5 million will finance energy efficiency projects in Georgia. The facility will be used for on-lending to private sector industrial entities and residential customers to support rational utilization of energy. This is the second energy efficiency facility in Georgia under a framework that has been developed to encourage enterprises and housing associations to make better use of country’s energy resources.

Established in 1996 by Georgian businessmen B. Ivanishvili, Cartu Bank is the 6th largest bank in Georgia by total assets. It currently has 5 branches, three in Tbilisi and two in the regions of Kutaisi and Batumi, Cartu Bank plans to open two additional banking locations in profitable centers of Tbilisi and two more in regions (Gori & Telavi).

Michael Davey, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, said the SME sector plays a very important role in facilitating economic growth, creating jobs and improving living standards, thus vital for the overall economic development of Georgia.

Irakli Vardigoreli, EBRD Energy Efficiency Banker, said the Cartu Bank’s existing client base consists of many medium-sized and large industrial companies which are a good target group for the energy efficiency sub-loans.

George Kvirikashvili, the CEO of Cartu Bank said, the availability of medium to long-term funding for local banks in Georgia is very limited and the EBRD financing will make a real impact.

The EBRD one of the largest investors in Georgia’s private sector EBRD remains one of the key providers of medium term finance and expertise to the Georgian banking sector. To date it has signed a total of 81 investment projects in the country covering energy, transport, agribusiness, general industry and banking for a total commitment of almost EUR 600 million.

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