ABN Amro, Global Securities and Sitrans are lead players in a new consortium appointed by the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) to manage a new Ecu36m ($41m) fund for investment in Uzbekistan.

The fund has been launched with Ecu30m from the EBRD and a Ecu6m co-investment from the management consortium.

The fund's aim is to assist private and recently privatised enterprises to restructure and modernise by providing them with equity finance, management and advisory support. Investments will range from Ecu300,000-3m and will not be limited to any specific sectors.

With a management office in Tashkent, staffed by expatriates and locals, the fund's capital is expected to be fully invested within four to five years and investments are expected to have been sold within 10 years.

Sven Hegestad, director of early stage equity at the EBRD, says: We are confident that the fund has a strong potential to make an attractive rate of return.""