The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Electric Networks of Armenia Closed Joint-Stock Company (ENA) have signed a $20 million loan for a working capital support facility to ensure vital supplies of energy as the country manages the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

ENA has sole responsibility for operating and maintaining Armenia’s entire energy distribution network, providing services to more than 1 million customers. The assistance will strengthen ENA’s liquidity, enabling it to maintain sustainable and high-quality service delivery during the pandemic. All households and businesses across Armenia will benefit from the uninterrupted supply of electricity to cities.

The loan agreement was signed by Director of Infrastructure Finance, South Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia at ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department Shantanu Chakraborty, and  ENA General Director Karen Harutyunyan.

“Ensuring the supply of electricity will enable economic activity across the country and enhance the ability of Armenian cities to sustain an effective response to the pandemic,” said Mr. Chakraborty. “ADB has a strong relationship with ENA and we are happy to provide this support.  We believe it will set a precedent for further private sector interventions to help reduce the economic impact of the crisis.”

“We’re now facing the greatest challenge of our time. The COVID-19 pandemic is much more than a health crisis, it is also a devastating social and economic problem,” said Mr. Harutyunyan. “We are so grateful to ADB and all our partners for their commitment and great assistance in this difficult period.”

ENA is owned by Tashir Capital Closed Joint-Stock Company and by Liormand Holdings Limited. The Tashir group is one of the largest diversified industrial and construction companies operating across several industrial sectors in the Russian Federation. In 2017, ADB approved an $80 million loan to ENA to help improve electricity distribution and increase energy independence and efficiency.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.