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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) financed a record number of projects in 2012, providing strong support in a particularly difficult environment for the countries where it invests.
Bolstered by healthy profits in 2012, the bank remains well-equipped to reach out to emerging economies again this year and to help them prepare for economic recovery when it finally emerges.
The bank expects to have made a 2012 net profit of around EUR1bn, after EUR173m in 2011.
According to preliminary estimates, the EBRD invested EUR8.7bn in its traditional area of operations in 2012, financing an unprecedented 388 individual projects. That compared with an investment volume of EUR9bn in 2011 in 380 projects.
“Economic conditions have been particularly challenging in most of the countries where we invest,” says EBRD president Sir Suma Chakrabarti (pictured). “With a record number of investments, the Bank has proven once again to be a reliable partner. It will continue to work hard to help restore a path of sustained economic growth in the future.”
On top of the investments in its traditional region, the EBRD also launched its expansion into the southern and eastern Mediterranean in 2012, making commitments worth EUR181m in six projects.
The bank has begun investing in Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia, supporting the process of economic modernisation in the wake of political changes in the Middle East and North Africa.
By 2015, it expects to be investing up to EUR2.5bn a year in this new region.
Looking ahead to 2013 and beyond, the EBRD will put a strong emphasis on financing projects that can prepare the way for recovery and more robust growth in the future.
Countries in central and southern and eastern Europe have been hit especially hard by the most recent turmoil in the eurozone. The EBRD is aiming to invest EUR4bn in this region alone in the next two years, a part of a wider joint action plan together with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank.
Via its projects and in its discussions with authorities, the EBRD will work to help put in place policies that will further improve the business climate and restore investor confidence.
In 2012, Russia remained the single largest recipient of investments, with an estimated annual business volume of EUR2.6bn, 30 per cent of the total. Turkey, where the EBRD began investing only in 2009, saw investments of EUR1.0bn.
In the EBRD’s Early Transition Countries, the least advanced countries where the bank invests, financing remained a strong EUR1.06bn, up five per cent from the previous year.
The number of projects in the western Balkans remained high at 64, after 65 in 2011, for a total volume of EUR663m, after EUR987m in 2011.
Investments under the EBRD’s Sustainable Energy Initiative, which finances energy efficiency projects and promotes the development of renewable energy sources, totalled an estimated EUR2.3bn, accounting for 26 per cent of total EBRD financing in 2012.
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