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IFC TO FINANCE PRIVATE TOLL ROAD IN ARGENTINA


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-7997


WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved up to US$81 million in financing for Acceso Ezeiza Canuelas S.A. (AECSA), which has been awarded a concession by the government of Argentina for a major access highway for the capital of Buenos Aires. The project is IFC's first greenfield investment in a private toll road. With an estimated total cost of US$161 million, the project entails three components: improvement of the existing 16-kilometer Ricchieri Highway connecting Buenos Aires with Ezeiza International Airport; construction of a new, 31-kilometer highway from the airport to the city of Cañuelas; and the maintenance and operation of these roads. The improved highway system, which will serve the southern part of Greater Buenos Aires, will help reduce travel time, vehicle operating costs, road congestion, and pollution. It will also enhance road safety. IFC will be lending AECSA up to US$20 million for its own account. IFC will also arrange a syndicated loan of up
to US$61 million from international commercial banks. The principal sponsors of the project are Huarte S.A. of Spain and Aragon S.A. of Argentina. "IFC's investment and syndicated loan for a greenfield project in Argentina amply demonstrates our continued confidence in the Argentine economy," stated Mr. Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department. "IFC anticipates that this private toll road will serve as a model for similar projects in Argentina and elsewhere." IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the leading multilateral source of equity and loan finance for private sector projects in developing countries. (30)