Press Releases

IFC Supports the Expansion of the Schwarz Group in Central, Eastern, And Southern Europe

In Washington, D.C.:
Georg Schmidt

Phone: + 1 (202) 458 2934 -
Fax: +1 (202) 974 4384


Washington, DC, June 29, 2004.—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will support the Schwarz Group’s expansion in several countries in Central, Eastern, and Southern Europe. The group is Europe’s leading discount food retailer, operating more than 5,000 discount stores (“Lidl”) and about 500 compact hypermarkets (“Kaufland”).

The group’s expansion is expected to generate high benefits for consumers through lower prices on a wide variety of food and consumer goods.  This will result from operational efficiencies, including purchasing, logistics, technology, and distribution, as well as from the scale of operations.  The group’s entry will help develop efficient local logistics providers and supply chains. International best practices and modern technology will help suppliers embrace sophisticated management information systems employed by the group.  In the target countries, the project will create more than 10,000 permanent direct jobs as well as a large number of indirect jobs in the supply, transportation, and delivery sectors.

The mission of IFC ( is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.7 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.