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Developer Selected for IFC-Supported Redevelopment of Howard Air Force Base in Panama


Washington, D.C.
Adriana Gomez
Phone:  +1 (202) 458-5204
E-mail:  agomez@ifc.org


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.”

About IFC
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.