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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 24 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved US$42 million in loan financing and an equity investment of US$5 million in Chowgule Steamships Limited, India's third largest private shipping company. IFC's financing will enable Chowgule to expand its existing fleet and replace old vessels over a three-year period. The acquisition program is expected to give Chowgule a modern and fuel-efficient fleet and enable it to compete effectively in the international market. After completion of the acquisition program, the average age of Chowgule's fleet will be reduced to about 9.6 years. The company's existing fleet comprises 11 bulk carriers with a total tonnage of 310,229 DWT. Five vessels are employed on international cross trades, and six mini-bulk carriers on domestic coastal trades. The expansion program includes the acquisition of a Panamax bulk carrier and one or two Handymax bulk carriers. The newly acquired ships will be employed on international cross trades for the tr
ansportation of dry bulk commodities. IFC will provide a loan of up to US$42 million, comprising a loan of up to US$15 million for its own account, and a loan of up to US$27 million to be syndicated with international commercial banks. In addition, IFC will acquire approximately 10 percent of the share capital of Chowgule. "We are very pleased with our involvement in the Indian shipping sector," said Mr. Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department, which has responsibility for IFC's investments in shipping worldwide. "We believe Chowgule has a sound profitabiliy record and reputation in the market and is well positioned for sustained growth." 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.
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