The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced last week that it has arranged a $65 million syndicated loan to Wissol Petroleum Georgia for the expansion of gas filling stations offering compressed natural gas (CNG).
"We are excited to support this new project and our longstanding partner Wissol in the evolution of the modern fuel retail market," Bruno Balvanera, the director of the EBRD's Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus division, said at the signing in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi. "This project will ensure that Georgian customers continue to receive more economical and environmentally-friendly alternatives to petrol."
Wissol Petroleum Georgia, part of the Wissol Group, is one of the biggest conglomerates in Georgia. THe company is a leading importer and distributor of petroleum products in the country.
The loan, which consists of an "A" loan of up to $40 million for EBRD's account and a "B" loan of up to $25 million for syndication to Dutch development bank FMO, will support Wissol's investment, the goal of which is to open up to 38 CNG filling stations.
"At FMO, we are proud to be working with our partners to improve environmental standards in Georgia," FMO CIO Linda Broekhuizen said. "This facility will enable Wissol to take the next steps in making the necessary improvements to energy efficiency."
The loan is part of the EBRD's strategy of financing high-quality independent fuel retailers, promoting the local private sector and improving the adoption of best environmental practices.
"This is a significant event not only for Wissol Group, but for the Georgian economy as a whole," Wissol Group President Samson Pkhakadze said.
We are proud to be the first Georgian company from the corporate sector to obtain a syndicated loan. The facility will enable us to create more jobs, to bring cleaner and safer fuel to the public and to improve energy efficiency in our everyday operation. We are grateful to the EBRD and FMO for their outstanding support in Wissol's quest for excellence."
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