Press Releases

IFC Approves $600 Million Trade Finance for Brazilian Banks

Adriana Gomez
Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Fax:  (202) 974-4384


Link to IFC's 2002 Annual Report

Washington, DC, September 25, 2002.-
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector developing arm of the World Bank Group, will provide up to US$600 million of trade credit lines to Banco Itau and Unibanco for on-lending to Brazilian exporters.  These loans constitute a rapid response by IFC to the effects on Brazilian banks and companies of risk aversion in global markets.

The IFC trade finance packages of up to $300 million each will be provided to Itau and Unibanco in the form of immediately available $50 million loans with maturities of up to 2 years, as well as syndicated 1-year credits of up to $250 million from international commercial lenders.

Unibanco has already completed syndication of an oversubscribed first tranche of $125 million from its 1-year loan facility among 18 international banks, and will close this transaction during the week of September 30.  Itau began syndication of its loan package among international banks earlier this week, and expects to close a $100 million first tranche of its 1-year loan facility with funding from commercial lenders in mid-October.

“IFC has designed these two loan packages to help Brazil address the current shortfall in commercial credit offered to the country, and to lengthen trade finance maturities available to Brazilian exporters.  The two banks’ strong performance indicators, well-diversified business profiles, as well as nationwide franchises assure that funds provided by the IFC loans will be made rapidly available to the Brazilian foreign trade sector,” said Bernard Pasquier, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Suellen Lazarus, Director of IFC’s Syndications Department, also noted: “The IFC loans are structured to encourage international lenders to keep credit lines open to Brazilian financial institutions.  By benefiting from IFC’s de facto preferred creditor status through an IFC syndicated loan,  Brazil country exposure concerns of the international banks are directly addressed.”  Mrs. Lazarus added: “These loans also demonstrate that for the right Brazilian issuers using an appropriate transactional structure, international funding can be mobilized from commercial lenders, in spite of unsettled market conditions.”

Two consequences for Brazil of risk aversion in global markets have been a decline in the rollover rate of maturing trade lines from international lenders to the country’s banks and corporates, as well as a reduction in the volumes and tenors of lines that are re-extended to such borrowers.  In response to this situation, the Government and some multilateral financial institutions have announced several measures to provide temporary liquidity to trade finance markets.  IFC is joining these efforts.

In addition to helping address the current lack of international commercial credit, IFC’s initiative will also reinforce the continuing improvement in Brazil’s trade accounts, which should make the country less vulnerable to external shocks.

Itau is Brazil's second largest private sector bank (fifth, overall) with assets of BRL87.0 billion, or US$30.8 billion, as of June 30, 2002.  Unibanco is the fourth largest private sector bank in Brazil (seventh, overall) measured by total assets BRL63.3 billion, or US$22.4 billion, as of  June 30, 2002.

IFC’s mission ( 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, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.  Since its founding in 1956, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY02 was $15.1 billion.  In the fiscal year 2002, Brazil was the largest recipient of IFC’s financing in Latin America and globally, with a commitment of $619.6 million in 13 projects.