GDANSK, POLAND, March 9, 1999 ---
The International Finance Corporation today signed an agreement for an
equity investment of approximately US$2 million (equivalent) in Bank Wlasnosci
Pracowniczej S.A (BWP), a regional bank in Gdansk Poland that focuses on
small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Along with IFC's investment, representing about 17% ownership interest,
Unibank A/S of Denmark and the Danish Investment Fund for Central
and Eastern Europe are also investing in BWP.
BWP will use the proceeds from the capital increase, about PLN 30 million
in total, to expand its current SME lending activities and to broaden the
range of its product and services. BWP will receive technical support
and know-how from Unibank A/S.
This investment in BWP, which has made impressive achievements, is part
of IFC's strategy in Poland to support regional financial institutions,
as well as those that work with smaller businesses, said Mr. Harold Rosen,
IFC Director for Central and Southern Europe. IFC is working
in Poland to support private sector investments in the real and financial
sectors, privatization and restructuring of state-owned enterprises, and
the establishment of new financial institutions, particularly those which
IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing
world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the
international financial markets and providing technical assistance and
advice to governments and businesses.