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A €18.7mn financing package from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is set to help a newly created subsidiary of Estonia’s Hansa Capital, the largest leasing and factoring company in the Baltic states, develop its leasing operations into neighbouring Russia.

The EBRD’s €2.7mn investment in Hansa Leasing Russia (HLR), the subsidiary, together with a €16mn loan, will help the company provide lease financing to big ticket clients in Russia, that include financing for the renewal of wagon stocks on the Russian railways and financing for port equipment. The bank expects to provide the company with additional financing in 2003, to continue its support for HLR’s expansion in Russia.

Jonathan Woollett, director of non-banking financial institutions at the EBRD, claims this greenfield project is part of the EBRD’s ongoing strategy to establish lease financing in its countries of operations. He says big ticket leasing is limited in the Russian market, and that by providing lease financing for larger transactions like the renewal of the Russian railway, an important gap is being filled.

The bank’s financing will also enable HLR to provide lease financing for port equipment. Woollett adds that this will help private port operators to offer higher levels of service, increasing the opportunities for Russian exports.

Hansa Leasing Russia is being created with the special purpose of expanding Hansa Capital’s leasing services into Russia. Following the investment, the new company will be owned 25% by the EBRD and 75% by Hansa Capital, a 100% owned subsidiary of Hansapank Group, the leading financial group in the Baltic states.