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IFC’s Support to Strengthen Retail Property Sector in Romania, Boost Climate Finance and Preserve Jobs Amid COVID-19

Bucharest, Romania, July 22, 2021—In its effort to support the retail property sector in Romania, one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, IFC has agreed to provide a green loan to NE Property BV, a wholly-owned subsidiary of NEPI Rockcastle, the largest retail property owner in Central and Eastern Europe. The loan will help build a strong green business infrastructure in the country, prompting low-carbon economic growth.

NEPI Rockcastle malls.jpg

NEPI Rockcastle`s malls in Bucharest and Sibiu. Photo credit: NEPI Rockcastle

IFC`s €73.5 million green loan will help mitigate the impact of the pandemic on NEPI's operations in Romania by enhancing its liquidity. This, in turn, will help NEPI Rockcastle limit supply chain disruptions and shoulder the negative impact caused by the economic downturn.

The loan constitutes part of IFC's $2 billion Real Sector Crisis Response Facility, one of four components of IFC's broader $8 billion COVID-19 Fast-Track Financing Facility, which IFC has earmarked to support private client companies and their employees hurt by the economic downturn caused by the spread of COVID-19.

"This green loan reconfirms our commitment to promoting sustainable practices, by undertaking to allocate the funds to green eligible projects located in Romania, as defined by our Green Finance Framework," said Mirela Covașă, NEPI Rockcastle`s Chief Financial Officer. "Continuing our collaboration with IFC strengthens the relationship built over the years on solid common values such as achieving high standards of sustainability."

NEPI Rockcastle's sustainability targets include a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and the proceeds of the loan will be used to finance projects that meet its Green Finance Framework eligibility criteria. These targets and criteria are in line with the ICMA Green Bond Principles 2018 and LMA Green Loan Principles 2020.

"Given the COVID-19 pandemic, IFC's timely funding will provide NEPI Rockcastle with critical access to long-term liquidity, thus helping business flow through the crisis and weather continuous uncertainties in these challenging times," said Ary Naïm, IFC's Regional Manager for Central and Southeast Europe. "NEPI Rockcastle is a good example of how foreign investment can boost the local economy by creating jobs and helping overcome disruptions triggered by an unprecedented pandemic."

IFC's committed investment portfolio in Romania, as of June 2021, stood at $1.03 billion in 29 projects. Diversified across key sectors of the economy, IFC's investments focus on strengthening and diversifying the financial sector as well as healthcare, agribusiness, manufacturing, and retail sectors.

About IFC

IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2020, we invested $22 billion in private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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About NEPI Rockcastle Plc

NEPI Rockcastle is the largest retail real estate company in the Central and Eastern Europe region. The group owns and manages an exceptional portfolio of 54 retail properties (excluding joint venture) in Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Croatia, Serbia, and Lithuania. The Group benefits from a highly skilled internal management team which combines asset management, development, investment, leasing, and financial expertise. Geographically diverse management skills allow NEPI Rockcastle to pursue CEE property opportunities efficiently, benefiting from a strategic advantage in the acquisition, development, and management of properties. For more information, visit www.nepirockcastle.com.