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IFC TO INVEST IN LATVIAN TELECOM SECTOR -- IFC's First Investment in Latvia --

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed an agreement to invest US$16.4 million in the equity of Tilts Communications A/S, a company formed to assist in the modernization and privatization of the former state-owned telecommunications company, Lattelekom.
Tilts, which acquired 49 percent of Lattelekom last year, is 63 percent owned by Cable and Wireless, U.K., a leading international provider of public telecommunications services; 27 percent by Telecom Finland, Finland's largest telecommunications operator; and 10 percent by IFC.
Tilts, in partnership with the Latvian government, intends to modernize Lattelekom's telephone network and commercialize the organization, as well as eliminate inadequacies in international and domestic long distance connections, rural phone systems, and public payphones.
This is IFC's first investment in Latvia, which became a member of IFC in September 1993, and Lattelekom is the first of Latvia's major state enterprises to be privatized.
"IFC expects the privatization of Lattelekom will lead to modernization of the existing telecommunications network of Latvia which will support the development of a modern market economy," said Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department.
IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.