The EBRD has approved a loan of up to €20 million to Proex Shp, one of Kosovo’s largest retail chains, which operates approximately 34 stores under the Interex banner.
The Enterprise Expansion Fund II Western Balkans (ENEF II), which recently completed its first closure with capital commitments amounting to €57 million, will provide part of the funding.
The loan will enable Proex to expand into areas underserved by enough modern retail establishments and will support more productive procedures and investment in technology.
The financing will also help Proex build a new logistics hub near Pristina, modernise seven current stores, and open six new stores, five of which will be located outside the capital.
Natalia Zhukova, director for Agribusiness at EBRD said, "We are pleased to continue supporting modern retail in Kosovo by signing the financing agreement for this project.
"Modern retail is not only about a better shopping experience, for which local demand is growing. It can also be a powerful driver of the real economy through value chains, supporting local micro, small and medium-sized suppliers, creating jobs and innovation, such as modern logistics."
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Technical cooperation will include the implementation of sustainability features in accordance with BREEAM Green Building principles, supported by ENEF II and the resource efficiency-oriented DRIVE fund established by Austria.
In accordance with the project's environmental and social action plan, the company will also upgrade its environmental, health, and safety standards and provide a leadership development programme for female employees.
Ylber Kuraja, managing director of Proex said, “This agreement is not only an endorsement of our business model and future plans, but also an acknowledgment of the contribution of the retail sector to the development of Kosovo and its importance to the value chain.”
Operating since 2011, Proex Shp is the second biggest food/FMCG modern retail chain in Kosovo.
The Interex banner was originally used by French retail group Les Mousquetaires for its operations in the Balkans.
The company exited the Romanian market in 2012, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo in 2014, and Serbia in 2015.
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