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IFC TO FINANCE ARGENTINA'S POWER SECTOR


L.Joseph


WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 21 - The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved financing of $165 million for EDENOR S.A., which provides electricity distribution services to about two million customers in the greater Buenos Aires area of Argentina. The financing consists of long-term loans of $45 million for IFC's own account and of $120 million to be syndicated with commercial banks and other financial institutions. The loans will help EDENOR S.A. to improve electricity distribution, reduce prices, and lessen energy waste and loss. EDENOR S.A. has recently been privatized through the acquisition of its controlling interest by a consortium consisting of Electricit» de France and SAUR (France), ASTRA (Argentina), ENDESA/ENHER (Spain), and Morgan Capital Corporation (United States). "Privatization is playing a major role in the development of Argentina's infrastructure, which is critical to sustaining the country's economic growth," said Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department. "In
vestment in Argentina's newly privatized power sector will contribute to the reliability of electricity supply, the competitiveness of industry, and the quality of life of its people." In recent years, many Latin American countries have allowed the private sector to provide infrastructure services and the region has attracted substantial amounts of private investment as a result. In the past three years alone, IFC has approved about $360 million in financing for its own account for infrastructure projects in the region, having a total project cost estimated at over $3.0 billion. IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and the largest multilateral source of financing for private sector projects in developing countries.