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WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 4 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved financing of US$35 million for Nahuelsat S.A., which will manufacture, launch, and operate telecommunications satellites under a license granted by the government of Argentina. The license, won in an international competitive bidding process, will be for 24 years, with an extension option for an additional 6 years. The company's first satellite, Nahuel 1, is scheduled to become operational by early 1997. Nahuel 1 will offer expanded Ku-band capacity to help meet the growing demand for television broadcasting, data transmission, and other communications services in Argentina and South America. It will bring cost-effective and reliable telecommunications services to rural areas that are not easily or economically reached by conventional wireline networks. It will also help link regional markets. Nahuelsat is owned by three leading European aerospace companies -- Deutsche Aerospace (Germany), Aerospatiale (France), and Alenia Sp
azio (Italy). Other private corporate and institutional equity investors, mainly from Argentina, Brazil, and Europe, are expected to acquire stakes in Nahuelsat as well. "The Nahuelsat project reflects the government's strategy of using privatization to modernize Argentina's telecommunications infrastructure," notes Mr. Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department, "and will bring substantial benefits to the economy of the region." IFC will provide a loan of US$30 million for its own account and will make an equity investment of up to US$5 million. Additional financing is expected from European export credit agencies. 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.