The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €70 million loan to Albanian energy company Operatori I Shperndarjes se Energjise Elektrike (OSHEE) to address liquidity gaps caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, has said a press release issued by the Bank.
The financing may also fund the construction of a modern, underground substation in central Tirana.
OSHEE is the largest state-owned enterprise in the sector in Albania, with more than 6,000 employees. Its distribution company manages and operates the country’s power distribution network and related infrastructure, while its retail supplier is responsible for electricity supply to regulated customers.
The EBRD loan is complemented by a significant technical assistance package to help OSHEE improve its health and safety protocols, strengthen its anti-corruption governance and develop an inclusive training programme for young professionals. The package will also include a smart grid development roadmap study to explore the digitalisation of the distribution network.
The signing in Tirana on Wednesday was attended by delegations led by Minister of Infrastructure and Energy Belinda Balluku, Minister of Finance and Economy Anila Denaj and EBRD First Vice President Jürgen Rigterink.
Minister Denaj said: “This is an important project for OSHEE and for the Albanian power sector. The EBRD loan will support OSHEE’s efforts to mitigate the consequences of Covid-19 and to modernise and commercialise its business operations. This project aligns with our significant achievements on reforming and improving the Albanian power sector.”
EBRD First Vice President Rigterink added: “We are delighted to support this project, which will provide liquidity relief to OSHEE following the Covid-19 crisis. We are combining liquidity support with the funding of innovative infrastructure in the Albanian distribution system. This is our first opportunity to support OSHEE and we are confident that we are today laying the foundations of a long-term partnership.”
Adrian Çela, CEO of OSHEE, said: “I am pleased to sign this project today to support OSHEE’s business following the consequences of Covid-19 and the potential construction of a modern underground substation, the first of its kind in Albania. OSHEE will also benefit from a technical assistance package that supports OSHEE’s modernisation ambitions and the implementation of best standards in its operations.”
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Albania. To date, the Bank has invested €1.69 billion in 115 projects in the country.
The EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 38 economies across three continents. The Bank is owned by 69 countries as well as the EU and the EIB. EBRD investments are aimed at making the economies in its regions competitive, inclusive, well-governed, green, resilient and integrated. / argumentum.al