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Washington, D.C., April 7, 2000 – Following is a package of brief announcements about IFC transactions signed in the past month for investments that will support private sector enterprises in the developing world. Packaged deals is a monthly digest of new IFC investments that have not been announced in our regular press releases. More information is available by contacting the Media Relations team listed at the end.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
The International Finance Corporation is providing a US$7 million loan to Frutera Del Pacifico (Pacifico), a banana grower and exporter in Guatemala, to develop banana plantations on the southern coast of the country.
The loan will finance the development of 1,412 hectares of banana plantations and is expected to more than triple sales from $9 million in 1999 to $28 million in 2001.
The project will buffer the sponsors against the effects of natural disasters by introducing geographical diversification and will help strengthen the industry by shifting the use of marginal lands from low return and poorly competitive agricultural activities to highly productive and competitive banana plantations. The farms will eventually employ 1,500 workers, meeting all standards of Guatemalan labor law and World Bank requirements.
The Government of Mauritania has retained IFC as its principal advisor for the privatization of Mauritel, the national telecom operator. This will be the first privatization of a large infrastructure company in Mauritania and it will open the way for privatization of the water and electricity utilities.
The Government has passed a new telecommunications law and a regulatory agency has been created. The former Office des Postes et Telecommunications (OPT) has been separated into Mauritel and Mauripost and opening balance sheets of these companies have been prepared. Liberalization of the sector is also underway: an international tender for a cellular license is being organized and the license is expected to be issued in July 2000.
IFC's assignment will include the analysis the government's strategic options and an execution phase which will be completed by December 2000. It is expected that a strategic investor will gain management control of Mauritel through a capital increase that will contribute to rapid development of the telecommunications network, improved access to communications services, better quality and lower tariffs.
IFC will become a shareholder in a pension fund management company in Croatia that is being established under the country's pension reform. IFC, which has extensive experience in pension reform, particularly in Latin America, predicts the new company will spur development of financial markets and local economic growth.
IFC will invest up to US$3 million or 20 percent in the company, which is being established under Pillar 2 of the reformed pension system that provides for a mandatory, fully funded program managed by licensed, private sector fund managers. Other pillars provide for a mandatory state-run program and voluntary pension schemes. Participants will be able to divert some contributions from the state-run scheme into the Pillar 2 program for investment over their working lives, and withdraw funds at retirement in order to buy a pension product from a licensed provider.
The shareholders are Raiffeisen Zentralbank, Austria, the sponsor; its asset management arm, Raiffeisen Kapitalanlage-Gesellschaft mbH; its affiliated insurance company, UNIQA Versicherungen AG; and IFC. The new company will benefit from the Raiffeisen Group's extensive experience in the Croatian financial sector and international asset management.
IFC will lend US$15 million to Pinar Süt for a modernization and expansion project. Pinar Süt is a leading dairy company in Turkey and an IFC client. The project will raise the standards at the farm level of the dairy industry in Turkey and increase the availability of modern hygienic food.
IFC has closed the first securitization of equipment lease and loan receivables in Asia, with Korea-French Merchant Banking Corporation (Sogeko), a leading merchant bank based in Seoul.
Sogeko transferred a portfolio of lease and loan receivables to a Korean trust which issued Senior Trust Certificates to IFC amounting to US$81,000,000 of which $20,000,000 A Series Certificates are for the account of IFC and $61,000,000 B Series Certificates are for the account of Sogeko Funding Corporation, an offshore special purpose company, which is the sole participant in the IFC financing. Sogeko Funding Corporation has issued asset-backed floating rate notes to fund its participation in the B Series Certificates, which have been rated Baa2 Moody's.
Javed Hamid, Director of IFC's East Asia and Pacific Department said the securitization offers a potentially important mechanism for Asian borrowers, who have faced considerable difficulties in executing deals, to raise finance in the international capital markets. He expressed hope that this innovative transaction will provide a mechanism for financing other Korean and Asian borrowers.
IFC has also intermediated for the first time an interest rate basis swap which allows the Korean Trust to hedge the basis risk arising from the difference in the LIBOR rates earned on the collateral pool and the LIBOR rates set in respect of the Senior Trust Certificates.