Zagreb, 4 May 2022 – In 2021, the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development supported Croatian entrepreneurs by almost 1800 placements totalling HRK 7.7 billion as published in HBOR’s audited annual financial statements for the past year. The data indicate that more than 70 percent of all loans approved to entrepreneurs under COVID-19 Measures were supported by HBOR’s measures in the form of loans or loan repayment coverage programmes.

 

HBOR’s operations in 2021 were particularly marked by the continuation of activities related to mitigating the negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operations of Croatian businessmen. During 2021, entrepreneurs were offered a number of programmes under the COVID-19 Measures at an interest rate of as low as 0 percent on funds from HBOR’s sources. Through these programmes, HBOR approved more than HRK 2.1 billion in liquidity loans to entrepreneurs.

In order to encourage commercial banks to approve new liquidity loans to entrepreneurs, HBOR implemented, under the COVID-19 Measures, the programmes of covering liquidity loans for exporters and issuing guarantees by assuming up to 100 percent of the risk of loan repayment. By the end of 2021, more than HRK 3 billion in new liquidity loans were granted to entrepreneurs with HBOR’s coverage under the COVID-19 Measures.

 

“The data of the Croatian National Bank as at 31 December 2021 on the total exposure of commercial banks under COVID measures indicate that more than 70 percent of all loans approved to entrepreneurs under the COVID-19 Measures were supported by HBOR’s measures – loan funds or loan repayment coverage programmes. This share is particularly relevant when it is taken into account that HBOR employs only 2 percent of the total number of employees in the Croatian banking system, in which HBOR’s assets account for only 5.4 percent of total assets,” said Tamara Perko, President of HBOR’s Management Board on the occasion of publishing the annual report.

 

Reduced interest rates, special benefits for earthquake-affected areas, free technical support

Interest rates for exporters under the working capital loan programme have been reduced to 0.8 percent from the previous 2 and 3.5 percent, which relates also to the public sector that can finance its investments at an interest rate of 1.1 percent compared to the previous 1.75 and 2 percent. Special benefits have been introduced for entrepreneurs who invest in the areas affected by the earthquake – investment loans are approved at an interest rate of up to 1 percent (with the possibility of reducing the interest rates to as low as 0 percent), whereas working capital loans are approved at interest rates of up to 0.5 percent. In 2021, HBOR has continued its cooperation with individual counties, municipalities and cities, owing to which entrepreneurs are offered interest rate subsidies on HBOR loans, i.e. they can finance their investments at an interest rate of as low as 0 percent. During 2021, HBOR continued the ELENA project – providing of free technical support for the preparation of energy efficiency investment projects, and launched a project in cooperation with the EIAH (European Investment Advisory Hub) to strengthen public sector capacity in structuring sustainable and cost-effective projects.

 

Most borrowers are small and medium-sized enterprises, exporters supported by more than HRK 4 billion

Most of the borrowers of HBOR’s loans in 2021 were small and medium-sized enterprises, to whom 1,108 loans were approved, i.e. 93 percent of the total number of approved loans. In 2021, HBOR supported Croatian exporters with more than 700 placements totalling more than HRK 4 billion.

 

Further development of the capital investment market – establishment of a fund for connecting science and the economy

In the past period, HBOR has launched a number of initiatives for the development of the venture capital and equity markets. During 2021, two funds established under the CROGIP (Croatian Growth Investment Programme) have made their first investments in companies in the Republic of Croatia, and preconditions have been created for the establishment of two more funds, one of which is intended for technology transfer, i.e. connecting science and the economy. The fund, with the minimum size of EUR 40 million, will be established in co-operation with the European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Slovenian Development and Export Bank (SID). The fund will finance the commercialisation of innovative technological and scientific solutions of Croatian and Slovenian universities, research institutes and value centres. The process of selecting the fund management company is currently underway. The selection process is carried out by the European Investment Fund.

 

NRRP: HRK 1.925 billion for favourable loans, guarantees and development of new venture capital funds

In 2021, HBOR also worked intensively on the development of several financial instruments under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan with a total value of HRK 1.925 billion. Financial instruments will relate to favourable loans, guarantees and development of new venture capital funds. It is important to emphasise that all investments financed from this source will have to comply with the principle of do no significant harm to the environment. During 2021, HBOR started a project of redirecting operations towards sustainable financing and green transition, for the implementation of which the funds of the European Commission have been approved.

 

Financial result – realised profit in the amount of almost HRK 190 million

In 2021, HBOR generated total income in the amount of HRK 728.64 million, expenses in the amount of HRK 541.56 million and profits in the amount of HRK 187.08 million. HBOR’s profits in 2021 were HRK 107.74 million higher than the profits in 2020, or 136 percent, which was for the most part a result of higher interest income, lower interest expenses, reduced impairment losses and loan loss provisions as well as higher realisation of other income.