United Bulgaria Bank, Bulgaria’s third largest, aims to build on its success in helping the nation’s industry to become more energy efficient with the help of another EBRD loan.

The latest €10mn loan will reach out to even more companies after an initial €15mn loan helped more than 20 private industrial businesses cut energy waste significantly or produce energy more efficiently.

The loans are provided under the Industrial Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Framework, set up in 2004 by the EBRD together with the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund and the ministry of energy and energy resources through the Energy Efficiency Agency. The framework originally comprised €50mn of EBRD financing onlent to six participating banks, and was extended in 2006 with the EBRD making available a further €55mn.

The financing is complemented by €20mn in grant funding from the KIDSF, set up in 2000 and administered by the EBRD.

James Hyslop, EBRD Director for Bulgaria, says this loan is building on the success of the first issued to UBB, which has helped promote the efficient use of energy, helping to cut pollution levels through reduced carbon emissions. Furthermore, by cutting energy wastage, businesses are saving costs, contributing to improved competitiveness, which is crucial as Bulgaria prepares to join the European Union.

Under the framework, participating banks such as UBB receive funds from the EBRD that they on-lend to private-sector industrial enterprises.

Businesses use the finance to improve energy efficiency by, for example, introducing better energy consumption, automation, control and heat recovery systems, and promote the use of renewable energy technologies.

Successfully completed renewable energy projects receive grant funding of 20% of the loan extended by the participating banks, and companies with successfully completed energy efficiency projects receive 7.5% of such loans from the KIDSF, financed by donors, including the European Community, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.