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Weaving a magic carpet for Uzbekistan's private sector, EBRD

17
Dec '08
Uzbekistan is famous for its ancient carpet culture. But cities like Bukhara and Samarkand are not only the stuff of legend: the production of carpets is still a vibrant part of today's economy.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting this trade with a $1.5 million loan to Shahboz Shahrom, a privately owned carpet producer established in 1998 by the Uzbek businesswoman Muhabbat Teshaeva.

The company, based in the Bukhara region, produces synthetic carpets and floor coverings (“moquette”). The loan will be part of a financial package which will be used to launch a new polypropylene yarn production. This is the key raw material for synthetic carpet production and the new production facility will allow the company to reduce costs significantly.

The implementation of the investment programme will establish a complete production cycle at Shahboz Shahrom which will give it a competitive advantage. This will allow the company to set out on its ambitious expansion strategy on the domestic and also on neighbouring markets.

Muhabbat Teshaeva is the founder and sole owner of Shahboz Shahrom, which she started with an initial investment of $1,000 to finance imports from Iran. Mrs Teshaeva has won several business awards and in 2006 was recognised as “Best Entrepreneur of the Year” in Uzbekistan.

Because of the country's dry and dusty climate synthetic carpets have a number of advantages compared to wool-made carpets. They are bacteria free, less vulnerable to pollution, water resistant and easy to care for. More than 90 per cent of the total Uzbek market is accounted for by locally produced carpets.

Fernand Pillonel, head of the EBRD office in Tashkent, said “The Bank is very proud of the opportunity to support the growth and development of a private Uzbek company with promising perspectives. Providing scarce hard currency to a business which stands for a trade of such long-standing tradition demonstrates what the EBRD stands for and what we can do.”

Shahboz Shahrom chairwoman Muhabbat Teshaeva added: “Thanks to the EBRD we can now embark on our long-planned modernisation and expansion course. The fact that the EBRD is providing us with finance at this difficult period on international markets makes me very confident that we have found a committed, long term partner.

The EBRD in Uzbekistan is focused on the development of the private sector, especially small and medium-sized companies, and the support of market reforms. The Bank has invested about €550 million into more than 50 projects in the country and will adopt a new strategy for Uzbekistan next year.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development


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