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 (www.ifc.org) 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.