The EBRD is providing a €80.8mn loan to Cersanit Invest, a wholly-owned Ukrainian subsidiary of the Cersanit Group, the largest Polish manufacturer and distributor of bathroom fittings and ceramic tiles.

Loan proceeds will be used to finance the establishment of green-field production facilities of sanitary ware and ceramic tiles in Novograd Volinskiy, in Zhytomyr region of Ukraine.

The loan will comprise an A loan of €40.4mn for the bank’s own account, and a B loan of €40.4mn which will be syndicated to commercial banks.

It is expected that a new plant, once put into operation, will be producing around 1mn units of sanitary ware and around 7mn square metres of ceramic tiles every year. A manufacturing facility in Ukraine will significantly strengthen Cersanit’s market presence in the country and increase competition in the sector.

Currently almost 52% of tiles and 25% of sanitary ware in Ukraine are imported. Local production will substitute the supply of Cersanit products from its plants in Poland and satisfy the increasing demand for sanitary ware in Ukraine. This expansion will help Cersanit match an expected healthy growth in the domestic sanitary ware and tiles markets as Ukraine’s economy develops further.

The transfer of skills and know-how to the local building materials sector should have a strong demonstration effect in the central Ukraine region which is suffering from unemployment and a lack of investment, says EBRD director for Ukraine, Kamen Zahariev.

According to Dragica Pilipovic-Chaffey, EBRD director for Poland and Baltic States, the Cersanit Invest project will support the cross border expansion of the dynamic Polish company to Ukraine, where it has been successfully exporting its products in the recent years. “We hope that the project will be one of many investments in Ukraine by Polish companies and its success may lead to increased Polish investments in this country and the region,” she says.

In November 2006, the bank signed a €40mn loan with Poland-based Barlinek, a manufacturer of wooden floors, establishing the production facility in the Ukrainian Vinnytsia.

The EBRD is the biggest financial investor in Ukraine. As of January 2007 it had committed €2.87bn through more than 130 projects.