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IFC Helps Preserve Jobs by Supporting Paper Manufacturer in Trinidad and Tobago


In London:
Carmen Powell
Phone: +44 207 286 5439
E-mail:
cpowell@ifc.org

In Washington DC:
Adriana Gomez
Phone: +1 202 458 5204
E-mail: agomez@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., January 11, 2010— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, restructured its existing debt investment of $9.3 million in Trinidad and Tobago’s Unicell Paper Mills Caribbean Ltd, (now Grand Bay Paper Products Ltd) the leading Caribbean tissue paper manufacturer, to help maintain employment opportunities and boost business activity.

Unicell is the largest paper mill in the Caribbean with a capacity of about 30,000 tons a year.  Exports make up about half of Unicell’s annual sales of roughly $30 million.  IFC invested in Unicell in 2001 to build a greenfield paper mill.  The global financial crisis and drying up of credit lines led the company into a liquidity crisis.  The debt restructuring is expected to secure 150 direct jobs and about five times as many indirect ones, and to grow Unicell’s operations and boost industrial productivity in the region.

“We truly appreciate IFC’s support to Unicell and partnership in such challenging times,” said Gonzalo Alvarez, Director of Grand Bay Paper Products.  “It is an important endorsement of our future strategic development and to the region’s social and economic development.”  

IFC also was the lead negotiator in structuring a new $10.5 million working capital facility from RBTT Bank, First Citizens Bank, and the Export-Import Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.  As part of the debt restructuring process, ownership of Unicell has been transferred to Grand Bay International, a leading Latin American paper products company.  

“This restructuring represents the next step in our long-term relationship with Unicell and its new shareholders.  It will maintain jobs, foster growth, and generate export revenues for the country,” said Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for Global Manufacturing and Services.

In addition, IFC, in collaboration with Citigroup, executed interest rate swap transactions, with Unicell These include IFC executing  a long-term United States dollar interest rate swap (from variable to fixed), and the first Trinidad and Tobago dollar interest rate swap.  The swaps will allow the company to improve control of its cash flow and eliminate interest rate risk.

Since its founding in 1956, IFC has committed $1.25 billion in the Caribbean’s private sector.  IFC’s strategy aims to diversify the economies and strengthen private sector competitiveness to stimulate economic growth and job creation.  IFC supports private sector participation in infrastructure and assists local companies expand within and beyond the region.

IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries, including by fostering sustainable economic growth in the Caribbean through private sector development.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About Grand Bay International
Grand Bay International is part of the Kruger family’s interests in South America. Montreal-based Kruger Inc. is one of the largest privately-owned paper and forestry products companies in Canada. Grand Bay International has operations in Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela.. Grand Bay was advised by Miami-based PAF Securities.