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IFC APPROVES THREE PROJECTS IN MOROCCO


Bibi Kasrai


The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved US$22.7 million in financing for three projects in the Kingdom of Morocco. Mr. AndrÈ Hovaguimian, IFC Director for Central Asia, Middle East, and North Africa, was present today at the signing ceremony for the three projects in Casablanca. IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest multilateral source of loan and equity financing for private sector projects in developing countries.

Ciments du Maroc to Receive IFC Financing IFC has approved financing of US$14.2 million for Ciments du Maroc (CIMAR).
The financing consists of a US$10 million loan for IFC's own account and a US$4.2 million loan that will be syndicated with Banque Indosuez. The loans will help finance the modernization and environmental upgrading of CIMAR's Agadir cement plant, at a total cost of US$25.5 million, and will also provide additional working capital. The principal shareholder and sponsor of CIMAR is Ciments FranÁais. The other main shareholders are Banque Nationale pour le DÈveloppement Economique, and SociÈtÈ Nationale d'Investissement. Over the past three years, IFC has played a major role in improving environment standards in the cement industry of Morocco, through its participation in cement expansion projects in the country.


IFC to Invest in SociÈtÈ Marocaine d'IntermÈdiation FinanciËre
IFC has approved an equity investment of US$0.5 million in SociÈtÈ Marocaine d'IntermÈdiation FinanciËre (SMIF) in the Kingdom of Morocco. This amount will represent 10 percent of the proposed capital of the new company. As the first financial institution of its kind in Morocco, SMIF's main objective will be to develop the interbank money market and the secondary market in government securities and bank guaranteed private paper. To do so, SMIF is expected to become a market-maker in public and private debt securities. The project is sponsored by a group of Moroccan financial institutions, led by Banque Marocaine du Commerce ExtÈrieur (BMCE). The foreign technical partner for this venture is Compagnie Parisienne de RÈescompte (CPR), a leading French investment bank.


Euratlas Capital Development to Receive IFC Financing
IFC has approved an equity investment of US$8 million in Euratlas Capital Development, a fund to be established in Morocco in the Tangier offshore zone. Euratlas will have a capital of about US$40 million and is going to be Morocco's first private equity fund. The Fund is sponsored by Wafabank, an eminent Moroccan commercial bank, Siparex, a leading independent venture capital company in Europe, and PROPARCO, the private sector arm of the French bilateral development agency Caisse Francaise de Developpement . Euratlas will provide capital to existing Moroccan enterprises and would be a valuable source of equity finance in the Casablanca stock market where such resources are at present limited. Other than its investment, IFC has also brought to bear its perspective and experience of emerging markets in structuring the Fund.