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IFC TO INVEST IN BOLIVIAN BANK


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-7997


WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 23 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved a US$25 million credit line and an equity investment for Banco Industrial S.A. (BISA), one of Bolivia's leading banks.

IFC will fund US$15 million of the credit line directly, while the remaining US$10 million will be provided through an international commercial bank syndication, which will be the first syndicated term loan to a Bolivian financial institution. IFC's equity investment will be for up to 10 percent of BISA's paid-in capital, or a maximum of US$2.7 million.


BISA, which was established as a private development bank in 1963, has assets of approximately US$260 million and a successful track record of channelling long-term funds to Bolivian private companies.


The credit line will help expand BISA's term-financing capability and address the shortage of long-term project financing in Bolivia. As the government's economic liberalization program has sparked more competition and a greater emphasis on exports, Bolivian companies have had to expand and modernize their operations in response.


"BISA has grown rapidly in recent years, reflecting the strong demand for banking services in Bolivia," said Mr. Julio Lastres, Manager of the Capital Markets Division in IFC's Latin America and the Caribbean Department. "With this project, IFC is supporting BISA's high growth potential and helping meet the increasing demand for medium- to long-term funds, particularly among medium-sized companies, in Bolivia."


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