EBRD buys 25.5 pct stake in Belarus retail chain

MOSCOW, Nov 18 (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has bought a 25.5 percent stake in a Belarussian company managing supermarkets selling children's goods, the bank said in a statement on Wednesday.

The investment in West Ost Union Commercial Industrial Group is EBRD's third equity investment in Belarus in the past decade and the first in its retail sector.

The EBRD declined to disclose the value of its investment. In the statement, it said that it 'views retail commerce as vital to the development of a successful market economy'.

West Ost Union, or WOU, runs a retail chain of 12 supermarkets in Minsk and other cities and wants to increase the number of supermarkets to 25 by 2013.

'This financing is very important because it will support our expansion plans,' the EBRD statement cited Sergei Misiachenko, WOU's general director, as saying.

The EBRD is working with a total of 24 projects in Belarus, with a net business volume of 244.1 million euros, according to the bank's website,

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly; editing by Simon Jessop)


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