Press Releases

IFC Supports Major Footwear Producer In Brazil with $30 Million

In Washington DC:
Adriana Gomez

Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Fax:  (202) 974-4384


Contact in Spasa, Brazil:

Francisco Cespede

Chief Financial Officer

Phone:  (5511) 3847-7406


José Sálvio Moraes

Investor Relations Manager

Phone:  (5511) 3947-7672


Washington, D.C., November 12, 2002—The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, will provide a US$30 million loan to Sao Paulo Alpargatas S.A. (SPASA), Brazil’s leading footwear producer specializing in the production of athletic footwear and low cost sandals.  The IFC loan will help SPASA finance its on-going investment program aimed at modernizing its production facilities and increasing capacity.

Since 1997, SPASA has focused on improving its performance and market position by upgrading product quality and by lowering costs through increasing productivity by implementing new manufacturing technologies and relocation of its production facilities to the Northeast of Brazil. IFC’s investment builds on SPASA’s successful strategy and will assist the company maintain its leadership position in the market.

“IFC’s financing will help one of the few successful domestic companies in the footwear sector build on its strategy of lowering cost, improving production efficiency and increasing capacity,” said Richard Ranken, IFC’s Director of the Global Manufacturing and Services Department.  Mr. Ranken added that “the value of the financing will be concentrated in the Northeast of Brazil, one of the least developed regions of the country and will help meet the Brazilian Government’s objective of reducing poverty and stimulating development in the Northeast.”

Bernard Pasquier, IFC’s Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department also noted: “IFC’s long-term financing to SPASA confirms the Corporation’s continued support to mid-sized Brazilian companies and will provide the company with a more stable source of financing to continue its operations, at a time when access to long-term credit is more restricted.”

Francisco Cespede, SPASA’s Chief Financial Officer stated:  “IFC has been an important source for long term funding for SPASA’s investment programs.  The partnership with IFC has contributed to the Company’s growth and enhanced our presence in both the financial and capital markets.”  Fernando Tigre, Chief Executive Officer, added:  “Iin addition to funding the operations, IFC shall contribute to our environmental, health and safety programs, the highest priorities of our management team.”

Sao Paulo Alpargatas S.A. was founded in 1907 and its main business is the production of athletic shoes, sandals and tarpaulins and coverings, and the company has built a strong reputation and loyalty for its proprietary brands which include Rainha, Topper, Havaianas and Locomotiva.  The company’s shares have been listed on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange since 1913 making it one of Brazil’s oldest publicly traded companies.  IFC’s relationship with SPASA began in 1987 when IFC helped finance a modernization of its textile operations which have since been spun off.

Brazil was the largest recipient of IFC’s financing in fiscal year 2002, not only in Latin America but also globally.  IFC committed $619.6 million in private sector projects in Brazil, in the financial sector as well as in manufacturing, education, information technology, infrastructure and retail

To meet the decline of availability of trade lines in Brazil, in the last months IFC has strengthened its support to Brazilian companies highlighting IFC’s ability to respond rapidly to the needs of its clients under shifting economic conditions, by making long-term capital as well as much needed trade financing lines available to the private sector.

IFC’s mission ( is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing 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, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.  Since its founding in 1956 through FY02, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

Sao Paulo Alpargatas S.A.