Montevideo D.C., March 30th, 2007—
IFC (International Finance Corporation) has signed an agreement to provide
financing to support the ongoing expansion and modernization of Conaprole,
Uruguay’s largest exporter and leading dairy cooperative, with over 2,300
farmers as members.
Conaprole (Cooperativa Nacional de Productores
de Leche, the National Cooperative of Milk Producers) employs more than
1,450 workers. Dairy farming is an important economic activity in the country,
and milk exports represent about 8 percent of total exports.
As part of the project, Conaprole will
use $30 million from IFC to build a new powder-milk plant in Villa Rodriguez,
Department of San Jose. This will generate income for farmers and
increase Uruguay’s competitiveness internationally. The financing is IFC’s
second investment in Conaprole.
“At Conaprole we put high value on
our relationship with IFC, as IFC’s first loan to the company was in July
2002, when our country was experiencing major domestic financial difficulties,”
said Jorge Panizza, President of the Board of Conaprole. “IFC’s
continuing support has enabled us to modernize and expand our industrial
capacity for the betterment of our members. We further recognize
IFC’s value-added in keeping us abreast with environmental best practices
and in supporting programs to improve the productivity of our smaller members,”
said Ruben Nunez, Conaprole’s General Manager.
“IFC remains committed to providing
long-term financing to companies that make a clear contribution to the
economy of Uruguay, in sectors where they have comparative advantages,”
said Oscar Chemerinski, IFC’s Senior Manager for Agribusiness. “This
project will help Conaprole stay on track with its strategy of improving
efficiencies and providing an outlet for the increasing milk supply from
Yolande Duhem, IFC’s Senior Manager
for the Southern Cone, emphasized the project’s impact in helping farmers
improve their productivity and raise their incomes. “The project will
allow the company to process more than 300 million liters of raw milk each
year, generating additional income for members of the cooperative and improving
the lives of rural workers in general.”
Agribusiness represents about 30 percent
of Uruguay’s GDP. IFC is supporting agribusiness and the rural sector
in Latin America because of their critical contribution to employment,
their role in the economy, and their impact on the environment.
IFC’s portfolio in Uruguay stands at
$96 million, mainly in the agribusiness and manufacturing sectors.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.
IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners
in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people
have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06,
IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for
private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications
for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services
and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support
to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure,
to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance,
and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information,
please visit www.ifc.org.
Conaprole was founded in 1936 and has
consolidated sales of about $350 million a year. The cooperative
processes more than 900 million liters of raw milk per year, over two-thirds
of Uruguay’s total; this milk is supplied by more than 2,300 members.
Conaprole owns eight processing plants across the country and produces
a broad and diversified range of dairy products. It exports about 70 percent
of the milk it processes to over 50 countries.