BOSTON The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development will provide Russian wireless broadband operator Prestige Internet with a $15M, four-year loan, the EBRD said in a statement.
The loan will support the company’s expansion and help refinance an existing $5M loan.
Prestige Internet is wholly owned by Enforta B.V. The EBRD holds a 6.46 percent stake in Enforta.
Enforta operates in all Russian cities with more than one million inhabitants. The company plans to expand to smaller cities of over 250,000 inhabitants and towns of under 100,000 that surround regional capitals.
"This ambitious expansion plan requires new funds which, under current market conditions, are extremely difficult to find," the EBRD said.
Roughly 25,000 new Russian users go online for the first time every day, according to the Bank. Internet penetration in Russia is still far below Western levels due to expensive infrastructure investment requirements.
Enforta is basing its operations on WiMAX technology and has targeted the small and medium-sized enterprise sector, according to Michelle Senecal De Fonseca, EBRD director for telecommunications.
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