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IFC Extends $45 Million Credit Facility to SOCO International plc


In Washington
Hannfried von Hindenburg

Phone: (202) 458-5613

Fax: (202) 974-4384

Email:  
hvonhindenburg@ifc.org

In Hong Kong

Desmond Dodd

Phone: +852 2509 8183

Email:
ddodd@ifc.org


Washington, DC, September 13, 2005—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed a seven-year revolving credit facility of up to $45 million with SOCO International plc, an international oil and gas exploration and production company.  IFC’s financing will help finance SOCO’s growing development investment program in emerging markets, particularly Vietnam and Yemen.

Through this investment, IFC will support a company whose operations have a significant development impact in emerging markets.  SOCO is committed to sustainable development in the markets in which it operates.  The company creates employment opportunities, builds and expands local infrastructure, and provides training and capacity building for local personnel and entrepreneurs.


SOCO’s planned operations in Yemen will help stem the country’s declining oil production, a turnaround that the government has indicated is a key priority.  SOCO’s presence in Vietnam supports the country’s transition to a market-based economy and the government’s plans to improve the environment for private business and foreign direct investment.


Javed Hamid, IFC Director for East Asia and the Pacific, said, “Vietnam has made significant strides in developing its private sector.  SOCO’s presence represents an important involvement in supporting Vietnam’s growing oil and gas sector.  It demonstrates foreign investors’ ability to succeed in this sector while employing best practices in technical and environmental management.”  


Somit Varma, IFC’s Associate Director for Oil, Gas, Mining and Chemicals, commented, “IFC is providing funds that will support the development of a small, dynamic oil and gas company focused on emerging markets.  SOCO’s operations will help support the development of Yemen and Vietnam’s oil reserves, which will in turn strengthen infrastructure capable of supporting a diversified economy in these countries.  We look forward to partnering with SOCO in the future as it expands into new markets.”


Ed Story, Chief Executive Officer of SOCO, added, “We are pleased to have built a strong relationship with IFC.  IFC brings not only expertise in the oil and gas sector, but is also a leader on the environmental and social sustainability front.  The long-term availability of the financing will provide us with the needed flexibility to finance current operations and pursue future opportunities.  IFC is a strong ally in the countries in which we have operations as well as in the frontier countries where we hope to initiate projects in the future.”


SOCO, an international oil and gas exploration and production company, is headquartered in London, traded on the London Stock Exchange, and a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.  The Company has operations in Yemen and continuing interests in Vietnam, the Republic of Congo, Libya, and Thailand.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) 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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.