Pristina, Kosovo, June 30, 2022—IFC is investing in Newko Balkan LLC, a Kosovo-based manufacturer of conveyor belts, to help address the company's COVID-19-related working capital needs, boost efficiency and production, and create jobs to spur the country's economic recovery.
IFC's €3.5 million investment in the company—owned by Özer Konveyör Band Turizm Sanayii ve Ticaret A.Ş., a leading conveyor belt manufacturer in Türkiye—will help meet the growing demand for industrial fabrics, and rubber and steel-reinforced conveyor belts in and around Kosovo to transport bulk materials like minerals and cement. The funding will also help boost export revenue generation in Kosovo, given the company's export-oriented operations, and strengthen linkages with local suppliers.
This is IFC's second engagement with Newko Balkan, following an initial investment of €5.2 million in 2010 to support the company's post-privatization ramp-up and refurbishment.
"We were proud of being IFC's first investment in Kosovo since the country's independence and today, we are very excited to start this new project with IFC. It will help sustain our development and fulfill the growing demand for rubber conveyor belts in Southeast Europe, due to increased electricity generation as well as mining activities in the region,'' said Merve Özer Yilmaz, Vice President of Newko Balkan LLC.
IFC will also guide the development of the company's environmental, social, and corporate governance policies, in accordance with good international industrial practices.
"One of IFC's strategic priorities in Kosovo is to create a more sustainable, export-oriented growth trajectory. This loan will help create skilled jobs, boost market competitiveness, and send a positive signal to investors," said Ary Naïm, IFC's Regional Manager for Central and Southeast Europe. "That will help enhance productivity and establish Kosovo as a competitive destination for foreign direct investment in the manufacturing sector."
The global conveyor belt industry is expected to grow from $4 billion in 2019 to over $5.1 billion in 2026, due to higher demand from the cement, steel, and mining industries and the importance of conveyor belts in automation. Conveyor belts can also help significantly reduce CO2 emissions by mining companies.
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 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About NEWKO BALKAN LLC
NEWKO BALKAN LLC - formerly known as Balkan Belt-Suhareke, is an integrated plant operating in the rubber industry and an important regional manufacturer of conveyor belts, conveyor belt fabrics, technical rubber parts, rubber compounding and v-belts. The conveyor belt unit produces textile reinforced conveyor belts using its own conveyor belt fabrics, as well as steel cord reinforced conveyor belts. Located in Suhareke-Kosovo, NEWKO BALKAN operates on 134.521m2 open and 52.724 m2 closed area and employs a total of 221 personnel. NEWKO BALKAN is the only manufacturer of rubber conveyer belts in Kosovo, having been fully acquired through privatization by the renowned Turkish conveyor belt manufacturer ÖZERBAND A.Ş. in 2005. ÖZERBAND A.Ş., established in 1976 in Afyon, Türkiye, is the market leader in conveyor belts in Türkiye, and is the only Turkish company active in the manufacturing of steel cord reinforced conveyor belts which it has successfully continued since 1982.