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IFC APPROVES US$22.3 MILLION FOR SOFIA HILTON, BULGARIA


Amy Conran
Phone: (202) 473-9119
Fax:      (202) 974-4384
E-mail: aconran@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 11—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) today signed investment agreements with FEAL International and Hilton International for a US$22.3 million financing package to be used for the establishment of the Sofia Hilton Hotel.  The 256-room hotel will be located in the city center and will offer accommodation and services of first-class international standards.

"We are proud to be affiliated with the Sofia Hilton, a business hotel which will not only attract international business travelers, investors, and tourists to the country but will also employ more than 400 local Bulgarians," said Mr. Harold Rosen, Director of IFC's Europe I Department.  "We expect this project, which is one of the largest direct foreign investments in Bulgaria and includes the first IFC syndication in the country, to provide other foreign investors with confidence in the emerging opportunities in Bulgaria."


IFC's financing package consists of loans of up to US$12.8 million for its own account and a syndicated loan of up to US$9.5 million for the account of participants.  The financial institutions participating in the syndicated loan include De Nationale Investerinsbank (the Netherlands), RZB-Austria, and Societe Generale (France).


The Sofia Hilton is a joint venture among IFC, FEAL International, Hilton International, the Municipality of Sofia, and Glavbulgarstroy.  FEAL International S.a., a French real estate development, project management and construction company, is part of the General des Eaux Group.  Hilton International is a subsidiary of the British Ladbroke Group PLC and manages over 160 hotel worldwide, and Glavbulgarstroy is the largest construction company in Bulgaria with extensive activities in CIS countries


To date, IFC has approved US$33 million in financing for three projects in Bulgaria in the capital markets, telecommunications, and hotel sectors.


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.


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