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Romania's BCR gets €50 mln loan for EU-related projects

Banca Comerciala Romana SA, Romania's biggest bank, is getting a €50 million ($65 million) loan from the European Investment Bank to finance infrastructureprojects as the country joins the European Union.

Banca Comerciala will also use the 20-year loan to fund tourism, environmental and energy works by small and medium companies or municipalities, it said in an e-mailed news release today. All projects must meet criteria set out by the European Investment Bank, the EU's long-term lending arm. BCR, which was bought by Austria's Erste Bank AG this year for €3.75 billion, said it can access the loan in three tranches and can pay variable or fixed interest rates. Romania's government says the country must increase investment in infrastructure works such as upgrading railroads and building more highways as it prepares to join the EU on January 1 or risk falling further behind other members. Banca Comerciala said it sold about €69 million of three-year bonds this month to meet growing demand for loans from its customers. The bonds, which pay annual interest of 7.25%, are to be traded on the Bucharest Stock Exchange. (Bloomberg)