Yesterday,the U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan Jon R. Purnell, Deputy Head of the Embassy of Switzerland Ms. Krystyna Marty, Chairman of the Business Bank's Council Mr. Artur Stamboltsyan and representatives of the international community participated in a ceremony to announce the formation of a new Uzbek-American joint venture “Business Leasing”.
Business Leasing is a new joint venture with Business Bank, Uzbekistan’s leading private commercial bank. The Central Asia Small Enterprise Fund (CASEF), which manages the fund has committed to investing $588,000 in equity of which $176,000 has already been disbursed. This will represent a 49% ownership for the fund.
Business Leasing will provide commercial leasing services to the Uzbek marketplace, focusing specifically on small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). Once fully operational, Business Leasing expects to attract new lines of credit from international financial institutions allowing them to expand leasing opportunities.
The founding shareholders of the new joint venture are Business Bank, the CASEF, the Small Enterprise Assistance Fund (SEAF), which is sponsored by the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) of Switzerland, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
During the ceremony, Mr. Stamboltsyan expressed great hope for the future of leasing in Uzbekistan and the prospects for Business Leasing in particular.
Mr. Donald Nicholson II, the Regional Representative of SEAF, spoke of the role of CASEF as one of the few sources of venture capital in Uzbekistan.