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IFC APPROVES FINANCING FOR INFRASTRUCTURE, OIL AND GAS, AND PHARMACEUTICAL PROJECTS IN COTE D'IVOIRE


Amy Conran
(202) 473-9119


WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 22 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved loans and equity investments totaling US$48.5 million for three projects in Cote d'Ivoire. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.

IFC TO FINANCE CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF POWER PLANT


IFC has approved an equity investment of up to US$1 million and a loan of up to US$17.5 million for the construction and operation of a 100 mega-watt power generation plant located outside Abidjan. The total project cost is US$70 million. The project, CIPREL, is sponsored by Valener, a holding company which is 65 percent owned by the Bouygues Group, a major French construction, financial, industrial, communications, and management company. It is 35 percent owned by EDF International, a subsidiary of Electricite de France, the French government's electric utility. IFC will hold up to five percent of the outstanding shares. The plant will supplement current hydro-powered facilities whose output has declined in recent years due to increased water consumption from agriculture, drought, and structural problems. With the additional generation capacity, Cote d'Ivoire will be able to avoid power cuts which threaten industrial production. The plant will be able to operate on either fuel oil or gas which will be suppli

ed from Cote d'Ivoire offshore fields. The use of gas is expected to result in a substantial decrease in imports of fuel and reduced electricity costs. IFC is also investing in the offshore oil and gas fields of Cote d'Ivoire (see project below). This is the first private sector project in electricity generation in Cote d'Ivoire. (More)


IFC TO INVEST IN OIL AND NATURAL GAS RESERVES


IFC has approved an equity investment of up to US$27.3 million in the Lion oil field and Panthere gas field offshore Cote d'Ivoire. The fields are located in Block CI-11, the most significant recent oil and gas discovery in Cote d'Ivoire, and their development is considered one of the country's highest economic priorities. Production of crude oil from the Lion oil field will help Cote d'Ivoire become self-sufficient in its domestic energy needs. Gas production will be used for power generation in the associated power project, in which IFC is also an investor (see project above). Production of oil and gas is expected to begin in 1995. The project will be carried out by an unincorporated joint venture including IFC; UMIC Cote d'Ivoire, a subsidiary of United Meridian Corporation and operator of the venture; Societe Nationale d'Operations Petrolieres de la Cote d'Ivoire, the state oil company; G.N.R. (Cote d'Ivoire) Ltd., a subsidiary of Global Natural Resources; and Pluspetrol, S.A., an Argentine company. IFC i

s also a financial advisor to the project and is assisting investors on project financing. This is IFC's second equity investment in the Block CI-11 project. The Corporation's first equity investment, of up to US$11.4 million, was made in March 1993.


IFC TO LOAN UP TO US$2.7 MILLION FOR SUPPLIER OF PHARMACEUTICAL DRUGS
IFC has approved a loan of up to US$2.7 million for Laborex Cote d'Ivoire, the largest supplier and distributor of pharmaceutical drugs in Cote d'Ivoire. The project will meet the urgent need for affordable pharmaceutical products in the country which has recently experienced a surge in drug costs following the CFAF devaluation. Laborex is undertaking a US$6.6 million program to renew its fleet of delivery vehicles and to construct and equip a warehouse for low-cost generic drugs. Laborex is 55 percent owned by Pharmafinance, a holding company owned by 264 Ivorian pharmacists. Eurapharma, an affiliate of a French distributor, owns 35 percent, and the remaining 10 percent of Laborex is owned by various African and Ivorian investors. In addition to providing Laborex with financing, IFC will also provide technical assistance to help the company improve its operating efficiency.