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IFC INVESTS $12 MILLION IN THE AGRIBUSINESS SECTORS OF COSTA RICA AND NICARAGUA


Jannette Esguerra
Phone:(202) 458-5204
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:jesguerra@ifc.org




            WASHINGTON, D.C., February 10, 1999 – The International Finance Corporation is providing US$12 million in financing for two interrelated citrus projects in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.


           In Costa Rica, IFC is providing a loan of $5 million and investing $4 million in quasi-equity in TicoFrut, the country's largest industrial citrus juice producer and exporter.  The project will help TicoFrut expand the capacity of its citrus processing plant in Aguas Zarcas by more than 50 percent and reduce overall production costs.  In addition, the project will generate 30 additional full-time and 360 seasonal jobs.  


     In Nicaragua, IFC is supporting the creation of the first commercial scale orange plantation company with a loan of $2 million and $1 million in equity in Frutales del San Juan, S.A.  Through the project, Frutan – a joint venture between TicoFrut S.A. and Nicaraguan investors – will develop orange groves over 2,000 hectares and increase production over the next few years. The project will enable Frutan to apply farming and technical expertise from the Costa Rican sponsor.  Upon completion, the project will employ 42 full-time workers and generate about 500 seasonal jobs.  


          The projects will expand and diversify the traditional export base of both countries, resulting in additional foreign earnings, said Tei Mante, Director of IFC's Agribusiness Department.  Having demonstrated a solid track record in the citrus sector within the region, the projects will stimulate further private investment in agribusiness.


           IFC will monitor ongoing compliance with World Bank Group environmental, health, and safety policies and guidelines in both countries.IFC supports competitive local industries and in particular, the development of small and medium enterprises such as this project.  IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.