London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acquired 100 per cent of the capital of the Danube Logistics SRL, the operator of Moldova's Giurgiulesti International Free Port, the country's only sea-river port located on the river Danube, near the border with Ukraine.
The change in ownership was registered by the relevant court in Moldova on 18 May 2021.
Through its acquisition, the financial institution aims to promote a continuation of the successful operation and development of one of the most strategic sites in Moldova. On average, the port facilitates the international trade of Moldovan companies with more than 50 countries every year.
The bank will also seek to attract international investors to further support and develop the port.
Giurgiulesti Port with available water depths of up to 7m, is the only direct sea/river-borne transshipment and distribution point to and from Moldova, a landlocked country. It lies where the Prut River meets with the Danube, which flows into the Black Sea.
Giurgiulesti represents an excellent area for business development, due to its strategic location, tri-modal transport infrastructure, cost-effective environment, and the unique tax and customs regime.
The port enjoys the status of free economic zone until 2030.
The EBRD has supported the construction and operation of Giurgiulesti International Free Port since 1995 and in 2013 replaced Credit Suisse as the primary economic beneficiary of the operation of the port following the refinancing of Danube Logistics’ outstanding loans by Credit Suisse.
Danube Logistics took a 25 million US dollars loan from the Swiss banking giant in March 2007 but was unable to repay it. The debt was paid with a new loan, from EBRD, and from a Moldovan bank.
As the port’s owner the EBRD expects the prompt fulfillment of all outstanding investment obligations stipulated in the Host Investment Agreement of 2004 signed between Danube Logistics, Bemol Refinery and Bemol Retail so as to benefit and boost the economic development of Moldova.
Created in 1991, the EBRD is owned by 69 countries (including Moldova) from five continents plus the European Union and the European Investment Bank.With cumulative investment of €1.4 billion in the country to date, the EBRD is the largest foreign investor in Moldova.
The number of EBRD shareholders is still increasing; recent new members include China, India, San Marino and Libya. Indeed, the EBRD is one of only two major multilateral development banks currently expanding its shareholder base.