The Italian financial institution SACE is going to start more extensive operations in Serbia in the fields of export loan insurance, investment protection, financial and contract guarantees, as well as broader application of factoring.
As SACE Regional Director for Central and Eastern Europe Speranta Tirsar points out, the portfolio of this organization in Serbia amounts to EUR 160 million.
- We are currently working in Serbia on the insurance of projects worth a total of EUR 350 million. Moreover, the projects we support are quite different from each others. On the one hand, we have insured the export of cooling appliances of the Italian company Arneg to Serbia, worth EUR 700,000. On the other hand, we have also insured the financing of local UniCredit bank offices in eastern Europe by UniCredit Austria, in the total amount of EUR 856 million, part of which went to UniCredit Bank in Serbia.
SACE presented itself to businessmen in Serbia through its cooperation with the National Bank of Serbia, the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, the Embassy of Italy to Belgrade, and the Chamber of Italian-Serbian Businessmen. The conference at which this finance institution was presented was held on Friday.
(Armando Varicchio, the ambassador of Italy to Belgrade)
Welcoming the guests, Ambassador of Italy to Belgrade Armando Varicchio pointed to the closeness of Italy and Serbia and the improving mutual economic cooperation.
- Now is a good moment for SACE to start more extensive operations in Serbia in order to provide support to Italian companies, as well as to Serbian companies that export their products to the market of Italy. Along with the Italian government's credit line of over EUR 50 million, which has been used by a large number of small and medium-sized enterprises in Serbia, SACE and loan and investment insurance will facilitate safer exports to both countries, as well as the export of goods of Italian companies in Serbia to the markets with which Serbia has signed free trade agreements – Mr. Varicchio added.
Bojan Markovic, vice governor of the NBS, reminded how strong and long relationship between Italy and Serbia was and stressed that Italy was one of the 10 biggest investors in Serbia, especially in the banking sector, while Banca Intesa was the largest bank in Serbia. Markovic pointed out that our country was becoming more and more interesting to investors because a large number of free trade agreements, particularly the ones with Russia and Turkey, enabled duty-free export of goods to those markets. In addition, Serbia is the only country in the region whose rating was improved at the time of the crisis, meaning that macroeconomic conditions are good for investments.
Mihailo Vesovic, vice president of the SCC, pointed to a highly-developed and good cooperation between the Serbian Chamber of Commerce and several chambers in Italy, especially the ones in the north of Italy such as the Chamber of Commerce in Trieste, Florence, Bologna and other cities, stressing that that cooperation was going to grow even bigger in the future. Businessmen from the north of Italy are expected to visit Serbia in late April, while another, bigger group of businessmen from Italy will be staying in Serbia in June.
- Italian companies that have invested in Serbia and started production in the fields of clothing, textile, footwear and socks production, as well as in the non-ferrous metal industry, are already registering exports worth over EUR 200 million - Vesovic stressed.
– We are very interested in attracting such investments in the furniture production and the lumber industry, having in mind the Italian design and the quality of raw materials that exist in Serbia. We also expect investments in the energy sector, which have already been approved. We are very glad that Italian companies take care of social responsibility – Vesovic added.
As an insurance and financial group, SACE operates in more than 180 countries where it offers a complete package of services intended for the projects and initiatives involving Italian partners and deliveries from Italy (insurance of export loans, investment protection, financial and contract guarantees, and factoring). In other words, as International Relations Director Raul Ascari pointed out, if the transaction is profitable, SACE is ready to participate in it.
The SACE headquarters for the region of Eastern Europe is in Bucharest wherefrom it runs the operations in Serbia, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia, and Albania. Its primary task is to insure export loans of Italian companies and Italian investments in foreign countries.