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IFC SIGNS US$50 MILLION DEAL WITH ARGENTINEAN PETROLEUM COMPANY


Amy Conran
Phone: (202) 473-9119
Fax: (202) 676-0365
E-mail: aconran@worldbank.org


BUENOS AIRES, Dec. 10— The International Finance Corporation (IFC) today signed an investment agreement to provide US$50 million to Refineria San Lorenzo S.A., a vertically integrated, petroleum refining company headquartered in San Lorenzo, Santa Fe province of Argentina.

The financing will be used to modernize and expand the firm’s refinery enabling the company to produce unleaded gasoline, low-sulfur diesel, and other refined products in compliance with World Bank Group environmental standards. The project will also support Refisan’s retail operations through the development of a network of gas stations in northern Argentina.


“Argentina’s expanding economy has driven the demand for petroleum products beyond the country’s existing refining capacity,” said Mr. Jean-Philippe Halphen, Director of IFC’s Chemicals, Petrochemicals and Fertilizers Department. “The Refisan modernization program supported by IFC will help meet the local market’s requirements and additionally will provide cleaner and higher quality petroleum products.”


“Refisan has worked closely with IFC in identifying the best approaches to optimize the performance of each phase of refining and to improve the environmental, health, and safety aspects of the refinery’s facilities,” said Mr. Tadeo Perich, President of Refisan. “We look forward to a productive partnership with IFC.”


The total project cost is estimated to be US$92 million. IFC has arranged a financing package of US$50 million consisting of a loan of US$20 million for IFC’s own account and a syndicated loan of US$30 million for the account of commercial bank participants which include Deutsch-Sud, Banco Exterior de España S.A., Banque Européenne pour l’Amérique Latine S.A., Société Générale, Banque Indosuez, and Union Bank of Switzerland.


Refisan, which was privatized in 1993 under the government’s privatization program, employs more than 180 people in the province of Santa Fe.


IFC, a member of the World bank Group, is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries