Serb retail group bags EUR30m handout

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has announced plans to lend up to EUR30 million (£20.4 million) in debt financing to a Serbia and Montenegro retail group, enabling it to launch 31 supermarkets in the next two years.

The money would go to Maxi, part of Delta M, itself one of the largest private companies in Serbia.

The expansion would see stores being built on mainly greenfield sites, in towns and cities where Maxi is not present. EBRD financing would also help Delta M create a legal subsidiary controlling Maxi Supermarkets.

The bank said the project would 'increase standards and lower prices' in the Serbian retail sector.

It added that Maxi's reliance on local products would also benefit Serb producers.

They would get 'prompt payment, training in quality and hygienic standards and packaging, and contribu-tions to product develop-ment, as well as the opportunity to sell their products,' said the bank.