EBRD, BNP and SocGen lend €116m to Bulgarian grid

The trio has backed a subsidiary of CEZ Group as the latter seeks to make ‘critical infrastructure investments’ in the Bulgarian electricity network.

Bulgarian utility CEZ Razpredelenie has secured a €116 million debt package from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, BNP Paribas and Société Générale designed to help it undertake critical grid infrastructure work.

The funding was led by EBRD, which provided 60 percent of the liquidity on offer. The bank also arranged the syndicate financing from the two French lenders.

The funds will allow CEZ Razpredelenie, a subsidiary of European power group CEZ, to work on “critical infrastructure investments” in the western and north-western Bulgarian electricity distribution grid where it provides electricity to over two million people, EBRD said. It will also help CEZ enhance supply stability and reduce grid losses.

EBRD said it was encouraged by recent reforms in the Bulgarian energy sector designed to liberalise the market and improve the regulation of electricity networks.

Earlier this year, the multilateral bought €80 million worth of bonds from state-owned Bulgarian Energy Holding's €550 million issue in a show of support for the reform plan. This formed part of its €530 million investment in Bulgaria this year.

“This will support the investment programme of CEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria, to enhance the quality and security of supply in line with the challenges of the energy market environment,” said Karel Kral, regional manager of CEZ in Bulgaria.