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IFC AND MITSUBISHI INVEST IN COLOMBIA'S LEASING INDUSTRY


Jannette Esguerra
Phone:(202) 458-5204
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:jesguerra@ifc.org


MEDELLÍN, COLOMBIA, March 17, 1999 — IFC and Mitsubishi Corporation will each hold up to 24.5 percent in the share capital of Compañía Suramericana de Arrendamiento Operativo S.A. (Surenting), the first Colombian company dedicated to operating leasing in the country.
Colombia has the second-largest leasing industry in the region, but it mainly consists of finance leasing for machinery and computers. The Surenting project will open the way for operating leasing, such as the leasing of modern truck fleets that will improve local distribution capabilities, particularly in a country where the mountainous terrain makes railroads difficult. Modern vehicle fleets with low emissions will reduce air pollution. The project will also help small and medium-sized companies obtain access to modern equipment without carrying it on their balance sheets. Mitsubishi will provide technical assistance for Surenting, which is part of the Suramericana Group of financial and industrial companies.
The economic slowdown in Colombia and greater competition in the financial sector have forced leasing companies to introduce new products to continue the growth of the industry. IFC looks forward to working with Mitsubishi and continuing its partnership with Suramericana to bring more advanced product concepts and technologies not only to Colombia, but also throughout Latin America, said Karl Voltaire, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. He noted that the leasing industry has already proven that it has an important role in expanding access to capital goods among medium-sized companies.
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.