In its effort to support the retail property sector in Romania, one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, IFC has agreed to provide a green loan to NE Property BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEPI Rockcastle, the largest retail property owner in Central and Eastern Europe. The loan will help build a strong green business infrastructure in the country, prompting low-carbon economic growth.
IFC`s €73.5 million green loan will help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on NEPI’s operations in Romania by enhancing its liquidity. This, in turn, will help NEPI Rockcastle limit supply chain disruptions and shoulder the negative impact caused by the economic downturn.
The loan constitutes part of IFC’s $2 billion Real Sector Crisis Response Facility, one of four components of IFC’s broader $8 billion COVID-19 Fast-Track Financing Facility, which IFC has earmarked to support private client companies and their employees hurt by the economic downturn caused by the spread of COVID-19.
“This green loan reconfirms our commitment to promoting sustainable practices, by undertaking to allocate the funds to green eligible projects located in Romania, as defined by our Green Finance Framework,“ said Mirela Covașă, NEPI Rockcastle`s Chief Financial Officer. “Continuing our collaboration with IFC strengthens the relationship built over the years on solid common values such as achieving high standards of sustainability.”
NEPI Rockcastle’s sustainability targets include a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and the proceeds of the loan will be used to finance projects that meet its Green Finance Framework eligibility criteria. These targets and criteria are in line with the ICMA Green Bond Principles 2018 and LMA Green Loan Principles 2020.
“Given the COVID-19 pandemic, IFC’s timely funding will provide NEPI Rockcastle with critical access to long-term liquidity, thus helping business flow through the crisis and weather continuous uncertainties in these challenging times,” said Ary Naïm, IFC’s Regional Manager for Central and Southeast Europe. “NEPI Rockcastle is a good example of how foreign investment can boost the local economy by creating jobs and helping overcome disruptions triggered by an unprecedented pandemic.”
IFC’s committed investment portfolio in Romania, as of June 2021, stood at $1.03 billion in 29 projects. Diversified across key sectors of the economy, IFC’s investments focus on strengthening and diversifying the financial sector as well as healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing, and retail sectors.