The EBRD is providing a €73.4mn syndicated loan to the Croatian food and pharmaceutical producer Podravka, which will enable the company to restructure its balance sheet and prepare for future regional and international expansion.

The facility will comprise of an A loan portion of up to €30mn for the EBRD’s own account, and a B loan portion of up to €43.4mn for the account of the participating banks Erste Group Bank, Raiffeisen Bank International and Unicredit Bank Austria.

Podravka was founded in 1934, nationalised in 1947 and privatised in 1993. The branded-food company operates in Southeastern Europe and has a strong presence in the Western Balkans, central Europe and Russia.

Phil Bennett, EBRD first vice-president, said at the signing in London: “This new loan demonstrates our continuous commitment to Podravka as a long-term partner. Our faith in the company’s prospects has been confirmed by the capital markets. The new funds will allow Podravka to maintain a stable position on the domestic market and grow regionally through the successful completion of its current restructuring plan. Our financing will provide a framework for Podravka to further improve and grow.”

Zvonimir Mršić, president of the management board of Podravka, added: “Podravka is striving to upgrade the competitiveness of its branded-product portfolio and to grow in international markets. Podravka′s management is dedicated to continuous efficiency improvements within our whole group to provide faster growth. We recognise the EBRD’s support for our further development as a long-term partner.”

The EBRD has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and to date has invested some €2.9bn in almost 160 projects. The bank’s activities include all areas of the economy and are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.