Press Releases

IFC Executive Vice President Lars Thunell to Visit Turkey (March 07-09, 2006)

In Turkey:
Thoko Moyo

Phone: +(90) 533 459 4470


Istanbul, March 6, 2006 — Mr. Lars Thunell, newly appointed Executive Vice President of the International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will visit Turkey from March 7 to 9,  2006. This is his first official trip to Turkey since joining IFC from the private sector in January.

The visit underscores the importance and continuing commitment that IFC attaches to its partnership with Turkey, its third-largest country portfolio.  Mr. Thunell’s program will include consultations with local private sector representatives, civil society, and IFC clients; and visits to IFC projects. He will be accompanied by Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC’s Acting Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia.

The trip will give Mr. Thunell an opportunity to discuss the country’s priorities for economic and social development and explore ways to improve the business environment and increase private sector development.

“Turkey’s economy has rebounded since the 2001 economic crisis, and the turnaround has been achieved largely through commendable reforms the government has undertaken to support economic harmonization with the EU.  As Turkey continues its journey toward EU membership, IFC will continue to help private sector development by encouraging more investment in strategic sectors.  IFC will also support Turkish companies in becoming more competitive in the region and globally. Our strategy is to remain engaged and facilitate more ‘south-south’ investments with Turkish companies,” said Mr. Thunell.

IFC has been active in Turkey for over 40 years, and cumulative investments in the country amount to over $2.7 billion.  

Examples of IFC’s recent investments in Turkey include:

  • Acibadem (health care services): $20 million in 2004 in an expansion project that includes construction of two new hospitals.
  • Arcelik (household appliance manufacturer): $ 400 million since 1995 for an expansion project that includes construction of a greenfield manufacturing plant in Russia.
  • Bilgi University: $27million between 2001 and 2004 to support university expansion.
  • Intercity (vehicle leasing company): $48 million to strengthen long-term leasing of its vehicle fleet to a variety of private sector enterprises.
  • Palmet:  $12 million in 2005 to support gas expansion by  Palmet Gas distribution’s subsidiaries Palgaz and Palen
  • Milli Reassurans-  $ 100 million 2001 and 2005.  Through Turkey’s leading re-insurer, IFC supported the strengthening of the country’s reinsurance agency through an earth quake facility
“IFC has differentiated itself from other lenders as virtually the only source of long-term financing for Turkish private sector borrowers, helping them avoid liquidity problems during economic crises.  We will continue to be a friend and partner to Turkey as we look ahead to the country’s new economic and growth priorities. As the government privatization program gains momentum, IFC will be placing a greater emphasis on the broader infrastructure sector (including electricity, ports, and logistics), as well as supporting flagship privatizations and stimulating the flow of FDI,” Mr. Thunell said.

IFC has supported about $400 million in projects sponsored by Turkish companies into other countries of the region, including Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Romania, and Russia.  These projects have involved expansion of companies’ operations into these rapidly growing emerging markets, thus capitalizing on Turkey’s strategic position between the former Soviet Union, the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Middle East.  Spporting investments between emerging markets is one of IFC’s strategic priorities.   For example, IFC supported Sisecam Group, Turkey’s leading glass manufacturer, in its expansion into Bulgaria.  This project is also the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) project for Bulgaria.

“IFC recently adopted new environmental and social standards. We aim, with these new standards, to increase the development impact of projects in which we invest. Given our leadership on environmental and social issues, we are well positioned to assist Turkish companies that aspire to world-class best practice in this area,” said Mr. Thunell.

The new standards cover more areas than the previous safeguards and expand on areas already covered. They include new requirements for community health, safety, and security; labor conditions; pollution prevention and abatement; integrated social and environmental assessments; and management systems.

About IFC

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

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