Washington, D.C./Panama City, April
26, 2007—IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, announced
today that London & Regional Properties has been selected to develop
a new, multipurpose center on the site of the former Howard U.S. Air Force
Base. The firm will invest $705 million over the life of the contract,
of which $405 million will be disbursed during the first eight years.
In addition to assisting the government
of Panama and the Agency for the Panama Pacifico Special Economic Zone
in the selection of the developer and providing advice on contractual structure,
IFC helped draft the laws establishing a special economic zone, working
with local officials throughout the congressional approval process.
Following an open and transparent
bidding process, L&R, a global private development firm based in the
United Kingdom, was awarded the 50-year concession to redevelop the 3,500-acre
site, which has been neglected since it closed in 1999. Under the
terms of the agreement, the company is granted exclusive development rights
for 15 years, followed by 35 years of limited rights.
Called Panama Pacifico, the project
will build on the advantages in the country’s transportation sector to
establish a new, value-added logistics hub that will also include residential,
office, and industrial space. The project capitalizes on the site’s proximity
to major ports, the strategic location of the property at the entrance
of the Canal, and the availability of an onsite airstrip and aviation facilities—all
major advantages for future logistics and trade-related activities. With
access to Panama City’s eager workforce, intercontinental fiber-optic
networks and extensive bandwidth capacity, the center will be an ideal
place for firms in search of a good location for back-office services.
According to Gilberto Ferrari,
Administrator of the Agency for the Panama Pacifico Special Economic Zone,
“IFC’s advise and support have been vital in helping identify the development
potential of the Special Economic Zone, and a developer capable of taking
on the challenge. The project will support Panama’s competitiveness and
will help the country emerge as a significant international provider of
goods and services.”
Bernard Sheahan, Director of IFC’s
Advisory Services Department, said, “IFC is pleased to have played a role
in these linked initiatives—efforts that will attract investment, promote
exports, create jobs, and strengthen Panama’s economic growth and competitiveness.”
IFC, the private sector arm of
the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing
countries. IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and
other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services,
so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives.
Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion
in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25
billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries.
IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion
in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation
in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase
access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability.
For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.
IFC’s Advisory Services Department
provides advisory assistance, primarily to governments, on private-sector
participation in the provision of infrastructure services and the restructuring
of state-owned enterprises. The services help to establish public-private
partnerships through which governments can bridge the need for increased
services under budget constraints with the benefits of private sector expertise,
management and finance. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org/advisory.
About London & Regional
London & Regional is one of
the largest private property companies in Europe with investments, developments,
and business interests exceeding €8.5 billion in over 12 countries, including
Germany, Panama, Poland, Russia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.
For more information, please visit www.lrp.co.uk.