U.S. DFC to mobilise $250 mln for Ukraine small businesses

KYIV, Jan 31 (Reuters) - The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation has launched an initiative to mobilise $250 million to boost access to capital for Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises during the war, CEO Scott Nathan said on Tuesday.

Ukrainian SMEs have struggled to get access to finance because of security risks that have deterred private investment in Ukraine since Russia's invasion almost a year ago. Ukraine's economy shrank by about one third last year.

Nathan said DFC would provide financing to Ukrainian commercial banks for lending to SMEs.

"I am here in Kyiv today because we are investing now to help keep Ukrainian businesses moving forward despite difficult circumstances. I am convinced that new DFC investments here will mobilise well over $1 billion in private sector capital to support the economy of Ukraine," Nathan said during his second visit to Ukraine in two months.

He said DFC would also sign a letter of intent to provide equity financing to Horizon Capital, a private equity firm investing in Ukraine and Moldova, and support expansion of Dobrobut, a network of private hospitals.

Horizon Capital is investing in fast-growing tech and export-oriented companies in Ukraine.

Nathan also visited Ukraine in December, when he announced DFC's first investment in the country since the start of the war. DFC then provided a $15 million, 10-year loan portfolio guarantee for medium-sized commercial bank Bank Lviv, and also a technical assistance grant to the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU), one of the few Ukrainian private universities.

Prior to the war, DFC's exposure to Ukraine stood at $800 million, Nathan said.

Reporting by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage

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