WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 16 -- The International
Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved financing of DM 63 million for Autokola
Nova Hut a.s. (Autokola), an automotive wheel maker in the Czech Republic.
The financing, announced today at a press conference in Prague, consists
of a DM 27 million investment for IFC's own account and a DM 36 million
loan that has been syndicated with seven European and American banks. The
total project cost is estimated at DM 104 million.
Autokola is a joint venture company established in 1992 between Nova Hut
a.s. Ostrava (NHO), a Czech steel producer, and Hayes Wheels International
Inc. (HWI), a U.S.-based company that is the world's leading producer of
automotive wheels. At present Autokola is the only independent automotive
wheel producer in Central Europe, and its customer base includes Skoda
and Tatra in the Czech Republic.
"Autokola merits IFC's support because it provides the Czech Republic
with a high quality, low cost producer in the competitive European automotive
components industry," said Mr. Wilfried Kaffenberger, IFC Vice President
"With IFC's assistance Autokola will expand its annual production
capacity from the current level of 1.5 million car wheels to 4.5 million.
The company has already installed a new paint facility and will add two
additional assembly lines," said Mr. William Shovers, Vice President
Finance of Hayes Wheels.
The participants of the syndication are the ABN AMRO Bank N.V., Chase Manhattan
Bank, N.A., Comerica Bank, Creditanstalt-Bankverein, Dresdner Bank Luxembourg
S.A., ING Bank N.V., and NBD Bank N.A. "The syndication was oversubscribed,
showing the confidence of the financial community in the Czech Republic
and in the viability of this project," said Francis Hamilton, IFC
Head of Syndications.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source
of direct loan and equity financing for private sector projects in developing