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New York, April 27, 2004—
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, has agreed to provide a $25 million loan to Russia’s Siberia Airlines. The investment agreement was signed today at the 24th Annual New York Airfinance Conference by Francisco Tourreilles, IFC’s Director of Infrastructure Department, and by Vladislav Filev, Director General of Siberia Airlines.
IFC’s $25 million long-term loan to Siberia Airlines will be used to refinance existing short and medium-term loans assumed earlier by the airline to finance acquisition and refurbishment of aircraft, to increase its working capital, and to expand its route network. IFC’s financing addresses a central constraint to the airline’s growth – an absence of long-term funding in the Russian market. Internationally, aircraft financing is generally available for tenors of 12 years, while Russian banks lend to the industry for up to 3-5 years.
“IFC’s financing will improve the term structure of Siberia Airlines’ debt to match the long-term nature of its assets and will help the company realize its growth potential at a time of sharp increase in air travel in line with Russia’s economic growth,” noted Mr. Tourreilles.
The Russian air travel market grew by 23% in the last two years and is expected to grow at least 5% annually long term.
Signing of the investment agreement with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group and one of the world’s most respected financial institutions, is an important step in Siberia Airlines’ strategy of integrating into the global network of passenger transportation. Our close work with IFC during the preparation of this project was a valuable learning experience of how to build relations with major investors in the global capital markets,” commented Mr. Filev.
Based in Novosibirsk, Siberia Airlines (
) was created in 1992 and privatized in 1994. Today, it is Russia’s second largest airline operating a fleet of 53 Russian-made aircraft and carrying 3.5 million passengers to more than 50 destinations across Russia and abroad.
The mission of IFC (
) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
Russia became a shareholder and a member of IFC in 1993. Since then IFC has invested over $1.3 billion to finance nearly 70 projects across a variety of sectors. In the aviation sector IFC provided a $30 million loan to Volga-Dnepr cargo airline in 2002, the first major foreign investment in the sector. IFC significantly increased its investment program in Russia in the last two years, investing $217 million in FY02 (July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2002) and nearly $500 million in FY03. IFC’s increased activity reflects the improving investment climate in Russia, greater opportunities in an increasingly broad range of sectors, and stronger foreign investor interest.
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