ASTANA – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will loan $1.8 million to the privately owned West Kazakhstan motor fuel and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distributor Niet, the bank announced in a press release on Sept. 3. The loan represents the EBRD’s continued support for Kazakhstan’s small and medium-sized business sector, the bank said, and is intended to help Niet expand and compete with larger players in the market.
“One of the EBRD’s priorities in Kazakhstan and other countries where the bank works is supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, with a focus on remote regions,” said Janet Heckman, EBRD director for Kazakhstan, according to the press release. “Niet, which employs 129 people and originates far from the urban centres where most of its competitors are headquartered, is exactly the kind of company we want to help grow.”
Niet has a presence in the Atyrau and Zhambyl regions and will use the loan to build two new petrol stations near the cities of Atyrau and Kulsary. The funds will also go toward expanding and modernising its existing facilities, and improving its environmental and safety standards. The company is also working with the EBRD’s Small Business Support team in Kazakhstan to improve its quality management system, the bank reports. Kazakhstan became the first EBRD country of operation to become a funder of the Small Business Support team in 2013. There are more than 200 EBRD experts taking part in the programme in the country.
Niet is fully owned by the transportation and leasing company Olzha, which is an existing client of the EBRD, the bank reported. Olzha received a $24.8 million loan from the EBRD in 2013 and another loan of $9 million in April 2014.
To date, the EBRD has invested over $7 billion into Kazakhstan’s economy. Investments this year have reached $675 million, the EBRD reports. Earlier this summer, EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti commented that the pace of investment was on track to reach $1 billion by the end of the year.