The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched a Supply Chain Solutions Framework (SCSF), a new mechanism aimed at providing more affordable financing to suppliers (including small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs) of large creditworthy businesses. The first project will take place in Poland in cooperation with a Santander Bank Poland subsidiary. The SCSF will also cover other economies in the EBRD regions.
In the first project under the new framework, the EBRD and Santander will support the supply chain operations of Zabka, which operates one of the leading chains of modern convenience (widely available and supported by new technology) stores and dietary solutions. The project will allow its suppliers to receive early payment on goods and services they provide to Zabka.
Zabka’s chain of more than 8,700 modern convenience stores across the country is operated by independent entrepreneurs under a franchise model. Zabka’s stated goal is to develop a whole “convenience ecosystem”, comprising solutions designed for customers valuing their time and comfort. Beyond Zabka convenient stationary stores, the ecosystem includes gastronomic points (Zabka Café), Zappka mobile app, Nano autonomous stores, ready meal provider Maczfit and meal marketplace Dietly as well as q-commerce app Zabka Jush! and e-commerce platform Delio.
The Bank’s unfunded risk participation in the programme of up to PLN 225 million (€47 million equivalent) will allow Zabka to expand its market presence and continue supporting its suppliers in the programme, most of which are SMEs, by increasing their access to working capital finance.
Zabka, an existing EBRD investee company, is also supporting the resilience of the Polish economy by creating a number of jobs for Ukrainian refugees in Poland.
SMEs tend to be more affected by financial downturns and events such as the Covid-19 pandemic, but financing options for smaller companies are often fewer and more expensive compared with those available to larger companies.
The Supply Chain Solutions Framework is the EBRD’s latest product innovation and contributes to the development of more sustainable and resilient supply chains. It enables the Bank to participate on a funded or unfunded basis in the supply chain finance programmes that financial institutions extend to larger corporates whose suppliers are based in the EBRD regions. These suppliers, many of them SMEs, will be able to gain faster access to more affordable working capital. Suppliers may also receive advisory support, including through the EBRD’s longstanding Advice for Small Businesses programme, to help them align with best-practice environmental, social and governance standards.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €11.7 billion through about 480 projects in Poland.