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IFC Supports Mexican Private Port Operations


Contact:
In Washington:

Adriana Gomez

Phone: (202) 458 5204

Email:
agomez@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., March 23, 2004—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will provide $45 million in long term debt financing to SSA Mexico Holdings, S.A. de C.V. (SSA Mexico).

SSA Mexico is the majority owner of SSA Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (SSA Manzanillo - formerly TMM Puertos y Terminales, S.A. de C.V.) which operates a container terminal in Manzanillo, Colima; various cargo handling operations in the port of Veracruz, Veracruz; a cruise ship terminal in Cozumel, Quintana Roo; and a cruise ship terminal in Progreso, Yucatan; all under partial assignment agreement contracts.  SSA Mexico and SSA Manzanillo are wholly owned subsidiaries of Carrix, Inc., the world’s largest privately held container terminal operator and cargo handling company.


“Carrix has demonstrated a strong commitment to the port sector in Mexico. IFC’s investment in SSA Mexico will support an increased role by a top international port operator in the operation and management of a number of port facilities that are key to Mexico’s foreign trade and tourism,” said Francisco Tourreilles, IFC's Director of the Infrastructure Department.  “IFC’s financing will help the company achieve a more sustainable capital structure and provide the financial flexibility to allow SSA Manzanillo to continue to invest in a sector that is critical to Mexico’s long term competitiveness,” he noted.


Bernard Pasquier, IFC's Director for Latin America and Caribbean, added, “IFC’s support to SSA Manzanillo comes at a time when many private infrastructure sponsors are withdrawing from emerging markets.  IFC’s investment will have a strong demonstration effect by encouraging the international market to extend private financing to properly structured, well managed companies such as SSA Mexico and SSA Manzanillo.”


Dave Michou, President of SSA International, Inc., Carrix’s international arm, stated that, “This financing illustrates IFC’s continuing support for Carrix and its affiliates as we continue to develop our international port operations to meet the demands of the shipping industry.  We have worked with the IFC team for over 10 years in several countries and their knowledge and commitment provide a valuable resource to us and the entire port industry. IFC is also able to provide longer term debt financing that is not readily available in the regular commercial banking market.”


Manzanillo is one of the largest container ports in Mexico and is currently the only facility on the Pacific Coast of Mexico able to service the largest transpacific shipping services.  Since SSA Manzanillo won a 20-year concession to operate a single berth container terminal at the Port of Manzanillo in 1995, it has significantly improved the port’s productivity and helped increase Manzanillo’s share of Mexico’s Pacific Coast container traffic from 51.4% in 1995 to over 90% in 2003. SSA Manzanillo currently accounts for approximately 69% of containerized cargo moved in Manzanillo and approximately 62% of total container traffic handled at Mexico’s Pacific ports.


The Veracruz port is located on the Gulf of Mexico and historically served as an entry point for Mexico’s trade with European and Caribbean nations.  SSA Manzanillo primarily handles automobiles for Volkswagen at Veracruz, but also services other car manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, and Nissan.  SSA Manzanillo also operates two cruise line terminals at Cozumel (a small island off Cancun, Mexico) and Progreso (located near Merida, Mexico).  


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 $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.