Agriculture processors and traders across Romania will get more access to finance following the creation of an €89mn joint risk-sharing facility between the EBRD (€40mn) and Banca Romana Pentru Dezvoltare Groupe Société Gén érale .

Under the facility, such companies will be able to use commodities stored in warehouses as collateral against loans for the 2003-04 crop season.

Hildegard Gacek, EBRD director for Romania, said the facility with BRD Groupe Société Gén érale is important because it will provide agriculture-related companies with more access to money to increase efficiency, crops, and help boost growth in this important sector.

The facility coincides with forthcoming amendments to the existing warehouse receipts law, which the EBRD worked extensively on with the Romanian government, to facilitate even greater access to working capital to a wider population working in agriculture.

BRD Groupe Société Gén érale is Romania’s largest private bank, with assets worth US$1.9bn, and over 1.4mn clients in 178 branches across the country. Patrick Gelin, chief executive officer, says the deal shows that BRD Groupe Société Gén érale is committed to supporting the modernisation and development of Romania’s agriculture sector. “The common view of our bank and the EBRD made possible the first risk-sharing facility in Romania’s agribusiness sector. The EBRD is not only one of our important shareholders, but also a partner in a great number of projects,” adds Gelin.

The EBRD has signed 187 projects worth € 3bn to support the agribusiness sector throughout central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Romania is the 11th country where the bank has assisted with the introduction of warehouse receipts legislation.