The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it is supporting a comprehensive reform programme for the power sector in Serbia by extending a EUR 200 million restructuring line to Electric Power Industry of Serbia (EPS), a state-owned utility that generates, distributes and supplies electricity.
The sovereign-guaranteed loan will help the company restructure its balance sheet and support its recovery after last year’s devastating floods, the bank said on its website. It will also assist the enterprise in reaching long-term development objectives such as commercialisation, raising standards of corporate governance and improving energy efficiency, the article adds.
Obradović: A lot of hard work lies in front of us, but we are committed to making EPS a modern, efficient and competitive regional leader in the energy sector.
EBRD’s financing will support further reforms in Serbia’s energy sector and will help achieve energy market liberalisation and to deepen regional integration in the Western Balkans by stimulating cross-border energy distribution and trade, according to the statement.
The programme will be implemented in cooperation with the Government of Serbia, alongside the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as part of a wider national fiscal consolidation drive. “We believe our financing will make EPS more efficient. We are pleased to be working on the modernisation of the company, increasing environmental and social standards and corporate governance. We see a lot of potential to further develop EPS as a commercial company and it is important EPS continues to implement the reforms started over the past year or two,” said Nandita Parshad, EBRD’s director for power and energy.
“EPS needed to respond urgently last year to the unprecedented and catastrophic floods which hit Serbia. This put huge strains on EPS and we commend the resilience demonstrated by the company and management at that time. This loan is hopefully the final step to help EPS recover from the damage, and by refinancing liabilities taken at the time, management will be in a position to press forward with a vision for a more efficient company”, added Daniel Berg, the bank’s director for Serbia.
“We’re delighted to be working with our long-standing partner EBRD. A lot of hard work lies in front of us, but we are committed to making EPS a modern, efficient and competitive regional leader in the energy sector,” said Aleksandar Obradović, general manager of EPS.
Since the start of its operations in Serbia, the EBRD has invested over EUR 4 billion in over 190 projects across the country. The bank invests in the financial sector, industry, commerce, agribusiness, energy and infrastructure, the article added.