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Michael Stopford
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—IFC Vice President Jemal ud-din Kassum Signs $40 Million Loan Agreement in Buenos Aires—

BUENOS AIRES, Apr. 13—IFC Vice President for Operations, Jemal-ud-din Kassum, signed a $40 million loan agreement with Guipeba, an Argentine oilseed crushing company, in Buenos Aires today. For Guipeba, the agreement was signed by the Director President, Mr. Vilmar de Oliveira Schurmann and the President, Mr. Ivo Hering. IFC’s investment consists of a $15 million A loan, a $20 million B loan and a $5 million C loan (with an income participating feature).

IFC’s investment will assist Guipeba with its expansion plans and improve its international competitiveness at a time when the Argentine oilseed industry is growing rapidly. The investment program includes modernization of the oilseed crushing plant and construction of a bottling facility, construction of a soybean processing plant and expansion of oilseed storage capacity. It will allow the company to capitalize on Argentina’s efficiency as a producer of oilseed meal and oil in view of expanding worldwide demand for these commodities.

IFC’s support for Guipeba reflects the Corporation’s objectives in Argentina of promoting investment in the provinces and in small and medium-sized companies. Guipeba is active in the northwestern provinces of Tucuman and Salta, where such investments are helping the economic restructuring of poorer, rural communities. The project will provide valuable services to the farming community and further promote agricultural production in the northwest. The agribusiness sector also generates significant export earnings for Argentina. IFC’s support will further increase the efficiency of the Argentine oilseed complex, adding to the country’s international competitiveness.

Guipeba is a wholly-owned Argentine subsidiary of Ceval Alimentos S.A., a Brazilian food and agribusiness company and repeat client of IFC, with operations in the soybean crushing, oil refining and meat processing sectors.

IFC Vice President Kassum’s signing of the agreement with Guipeba took place during a visit to Argentina and Brazil, reflecting his new assignment as Vice President with global responsibility for all new investments undertaken by IFC. Brazil and Argentina are, respectively, the largest recipients of IFC investment in the Corporation’s history. Mr. Kassum met with a wide range of private sector and government representatives in both countries and also visited the less developed, northeast region of Brazil.

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.