Minsk, Belarus, July 18, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement with A1 Group,
a subsidiary of the Russian consortium Alfa Group, to provide financing
to a food retail project named Belmarket. Belmarket, one of the first large
retailers in the country, will increase competition in the local retail
sector and improve operational efficiencies. It will also expand access
to modern retail services by offering quality fresh produce and other products
at fair prices.
IFC will provide a $6 million loan facility,
which will be used to finance the launch of 128 stores.
“Cooperation with IFC substantially
increases Belmarket’s prospects in the market. IFC is a strong and experienced
partner. We had two joint projects with IFC, Vladpivo in Russia and Syabar
in Belarus, and both projects were successful. IFC’s participation provides
us the first class investment and financial expertise,” said Alexander
Babikov, Belmarket’s Chairman of the Board.
“IFC is pleased to support this project
due to its major development impact, which includes the increase in competition
in the retail sector and promotion of sustainable private sector development
in Belarus. In addition, this project will open new channels for small
and medium producers in the country to sell their goods to reliable buyers.
The project is also expected to generate many direct and indirect jobs,”
said Nena Stoiljkovic, IFC Director for Central and Eastern Europe.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC's vision is that people should have
the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC
committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
IFC in Belarus
Belarus became an IFC member in November
1992. On the invitation of the Government of Belarus, IFC has been actively
involved in advisory work in Belarus since 1993. Over more than 10 years,
IFC has implemented a range of advisory services projects and investments
projects in the financial, agribusiness and retail sectors in Belarus.
A1 is a leading direct investment company
in Russia and CIS. A1 invests into various industries to benefit its shareholders,
clients and partners. Partnership with A1 brings about fast positive change
factors such as new investments for development, better quality of management,
higher transparency, and optimized business structure.