Cyprus’ Hellenic Bank has received a €20mn trade facility to support Cypriot exporters and importers, from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Through the facility, the EBRD will issue guarantees covering political and commercial risks of transactions undertaken by Hellenic Bank. The bank will also benefit from the EBRD’s technical co-operation projects in trade finance.

Lucyna Stańczak-Wuczyńska, EBRD director, financial institutions, comments: “This agreement will boost intra-regional trade and contribute to the development of trade links between Cyprus and other countries where the EBRD invests. Supporting the expansion of trade finance in Cyprus is critically important for the revival of the country’s economy by creating opportunities for growth and job creation.”

According to Bert Pijls, Hellenic Bank CEO, the programme is particularly useful for financing exports of construction and engineering services to the Middle East and other Mediterranean countries, including risk cover for bid and performance bonds and funding of short-term pre-export finance loans. “Participation in programmes like these is just one of the many ways Hellenic Bank contributes towards the build-up and growth of Cyprus’s economy,” he says.

Hellenic Bank is one of Cyprus’s largest banks and a long-standing partner of the EBRD, being a confirming bank under the trade finance programme since March 2003. The EBRD acquired a 5.4% stake in the bank for €20mn last year.