WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 8 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed an agreement with Rhodiaco Industrias Quimicas Ltda. (Rhodiaco), the only producer of purified terephthalic acid (PTA) in South America, to finance an expansion and modernization of its facilities. The project will double Rhodiaco's PTA production capacity, significantly reduce operating costs and improve its environmental standards through new air emission control systems and improved wastewater treatment. Expanded production will help meet a rapidly growing demand for PTA, the key raw material in the production of polyester fiber for the textile industry and PET resin for the packaging industry. "The economic and social development of the less-developed northeastern region of Brazil is a high priority for IFC," said Jean-Philippe Halphen, Director of IFC's Chemicals, Petrochemicals and Fertilizers Department. "Rhodiaco's expansion project will supply PTA which is critical to the northeast's expanding textile industry." IFC has arranged a financing package of US$60 million, consisting of a loan of US$30 million for its own account and a syndicated loan of US$30 million for the account of commercial bank participants, which include ABN Amro, BNP, ING Bank, Lloyds Bank and Societe Generale. Rhodiaco is a joint venture between Rhodia-ster and Amoco do Brasil. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the leading multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.