One Belt, One Road: supporting local business

Finance for SMEs along the new Silk Route


Intesa Sanpaolo is committed to local business in the countries where it operates, which has led to the decision to support the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Project in the Balkans.

The programme’s central aim is to improve infrastructures in an area which was once the Western gateway of the ancient Silk Road and OBOR seeks now to reinvent.

“Intesa Sanpaolo always keeps a keen eye on strategic international initiatives – both institutional and business-oriented – of benefit to the countries in which it operates through its network of subsidiary banks,” explains Mr Ignacio Jaquotot, Head of the Group’s International Subsidiary Banks Division.

A powerful engine for growth for the entire Balkan region

Ignacio Jaquotot, head of the International Subsidiary Banks Division

Up to €1billion of credit facilities will be made available through Intesa Sanpaolo subsidiaries to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Western Balkan region.

Clients operating in the infrastructure and energy supply sectors, who will be involved as subcontractors and suppliers, will be able to access such funding for their projects. It will mostly take the form of medium to long-term loans of up to €15m per borrower over a period of 10 years.

A broad range of services, including acquisitions, enlargement and restructuring, will be provided for OBOR purposes through a local network of relationship managers who are equipped with the necessary expertise and knowledge.

“Our local banks in the region have a long history of fruitful and innovative relationships with SMEs which is fundamental for providing them with the right solutions to add to their financing needs”, Mr Jaquotot says.

Intesa Sanpaolo was one of the sponsors of the International Conference “Supporting Local Enterprises and SMEs along China’s Belt and Road Initiative in South Eastern Europe”, organised by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in May.

The OBOR initiative is expected to see $11billion put into Western Balkan economies in a programme aimed at improving infrastructure.
Intesa Sanpaolo believes that this will give a significant boost to local SMEs, which represent 99 per cent of all the businesses in these areas.

“We definitely expect the OBOR project to be a powerful engine for growth for the entire Balkan region and as such to spur further business initiatives in the near and not so near future,”
Mr Jaquotot says.

Intesa Sanpaolo expects to continue to play an active role in any future projects. Mr Jaquotot describes the way the bank operates as a “group mindset”, which adopts an integrated approach to exploit opportunities for cross-fertilisation among its various organisational units.

“We expect various group-product desks to be involved, to a greater or lesser extent, in the already established initiatives or in the ones that are still to come,” Mr Jaquotot says.

Intesa Sanpaolo’s network in the Balkan region includes Privedna Banka Zagreb in Croatia, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Bosnia and Herzegovina, Banka Koper in Slovenia, Banca Intesa Beograd in Serbia, Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania and Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Romania.
The International Subsidiary Banks Division coordinates and supports the activities of the banks in the network aiming at future growth and development opportunities.

"We expect the One Belt, One Road project to be a powerful engine for growth for the entire Balkan region"

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