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IFC INVESTS IN COSTA RICAN SUPERMARKET CHAIN


Jannette Esguerra
Phone: (202) 458-5204
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: jesguerra@ifc.org


SAN JOSE, COSTA RICA, April 21, 1999 – The International Finance Corporation today signed an agreement to invest US$40 million in Corporación de Supermercados Unidos (Superunidos), a Costa-Rican supermarket chain, to bring low-cost, one-stop shopping to consumers in Central America and the Caribbean.
IFC's investment of a $30 million loan and $10 million in equity will support the company's expansion program to open more than 200 new discount stores in El Savador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. Three hypermarkets and more than 60 discount stores will be opened in Costa Rica. The Superunidos stores will offer quality food at better prices than regional competitors.
Superunidos will build stores in low-income areas, thereby bringing high quality products and the convenience of one-stop shopping to a large portion of the population, said Bernard Pasquier, Senior Manager of Latin America and the Caribbean, who signed the agreement on behalf of IFC. Apart from offering savings for consumers, he said, the expansion would create at least 2,500 entry-level jobs, primarily for women and the young with above-average compensation packages and training for its employees.
Since 1994, IFC has financed eight retail projects and six additional projects are in preparation. 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.



The Investment Team involved with this project is listed as follows: Fabiana Feld, Investment Officer, Jean Laprevotte, Investment Officer, Savina Eneva, Investment Analyst, Cristina Sunkel, Lawyer, and Yazgan Musannif, Engineer
.