The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €25 million loan to MK Group, a leading regional business group.
The EBRD loan will finance investments in MK Group’s farming and sugar operations, give the group a boost during the current food security crisis and help it to develop its agribusiness division.
The fresh funds will also help MK Group to strengthen its use of digital skills and expand the digitalisation of agricultural processes. The group will also invest in attracting more female talent through targeted outreach initiatives and a new training programme.
Miljan Ždrale, EBRD, Regional Head of Agribusiness, South East Europe, said: “We are very glad to sign a new loan agreement with one of our key private-sector clients in the region, who we have been supporting over the past 15 years as a lender and equity investor. We are pleased to see how the group has evolved and grown during this time and look forward to continuing to work together on modernising agribusiness in Serbia.”
Andrija Vuković, CFO of MK Group, said: “We are looking forward to realising the new investments and digitalisation projects that will add strong value to our business operations and to Serbian agrifood production.”
MK Group, founded 39 years ago, employs 6,000 people in the Adria region and is the largest Serbian producer and trader of agricultural commodities, with companies engaged in sugar production, farming and meat processing.
The group is also a large employer and aggregator in the country, working with over 20,000 farmers and suppliers.
Agriculture is one of the most important industries in the Serbian economy, accounting for 26 per cent of total exports. Supporting agribusiness companies and improving climate resilience and infrastructure have been among the EBRD’s key priorities there.
The EBRD has supported MK Group since 2007, when it extended its first loan to the group’s subsidiary in Ukraine. Since then, the Bank has provided it with more financing, the most recent project being a €25 million loan to leading plant-based protein producer Sojaprotein in 2020.
In 2013, the Bank became a minority equity partner in MK Group, assisting not only with investments but with corporate governance improvements and business succession planning. The Bank exited this equity investment in 2017.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia, investing €7.5 billion in the country to date. Its focus in Serbia is on private-sector development, improving public utilities and facilitating the country’s transition to a green economy.
iO Partners, JLL’s preferred partner, has opened a new office in Belgrade, Serbia. The new business, which will cover Serbia and neighbouring countries including Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro, is...