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IFC Financing Supports Expansion of Lebanese Retailer ADMIC, Helping Restore Consumer Confidence


In Washington, DC:
Carmen Powell
Phone: +1 (202) 473-4982
E-mail:  
cpowell@ifc.org


Beirut, June 25, 2007—IFC, the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, today signed an investment agreement with ADMIC Sal, Lebanon’s largest retail chain, to support its plan to open a new department store and restructure its ongoing operations.  These efforts will help restore consumer confidence in the economy after a difficult period in the country.

The $20 million financing represents IFC’s first investment in the Lebanese retail sector.  It includes a $13.5 million loan and a $6.5 million equity investment.


The success of ADMIC — a retailer that incorporates best practice modern retailing methods — is important to the country’s retail sector and to the economy more broadly, which has struggled in recent months due to the political situation.  ADMIC is sending a strong, positive message as its operations return to stability and it prepares to open a new department store, encouraging a return of shoppers that will also benefit its suppliers and other retailers.  IFC’s investment exemplifies a renewal of confidence in the country and enhances the company’s ability to serve its customers.


According to Michel Abchee, Chairman and CEO, ADMIC Sal, "The economic challenges that Lebanon is facing led us to review our long-term strategy.  IFC's support will help us move forward at a time when other financiers are wary of investing in an environment perceived as high risk."


Michael Essex, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, added, “IFC’s investment is important for Lebanon’s economy in that it supports a strong local player. The country needs its leading businesses to continue operating as normally as possible, and we are happy to be supporting one such business.“

As consumers realize that a familiar brand continues to operate and plans to expand, they will gain confidence that the economy is rebounding, observed Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC Director for Global Manufacturing and Services.  “This will translate into more demand for goods, and increased spending in the retail sector.  IFC’s investment will play an important role in this recovery. Our involvement also will ensure compliance with world-class environmental and social performance standards, in particular in the areas of safety and human resource management.”


About IFC:

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit
www.ifc.org.

About ADMIC Sal

Established in 1998, ADMIC is the franchisee of the Monoprix supermarket and Geant hypermarket chains as well as the BHV department store chain in Lebanon. ADMIC currently operates seven stores under these trade names in the country.