WASINGTON, D.C., December 11, 2000 —
The International Finance Corporation is helping to bring home improvement
to Bulgaria and Macedonia through an investment in five home hardware and
services stores owned by Doverie Brico AD and operated under the franchise
of Mr. Bricolage, a French homestores retailing giant.
IFC will provide a loan for its own account of US$3.0 million and quasi-equity
of $1.8 million, alongside investments by Doverie United Holding (DUH),
a major Bulgarian holding company, and NBG Venture Capital Fund. DUH
is a successor of the United Bulgarian Privatization Fund Doverie AD, which
attracted more than 260,000 Bulgarian shareholders since its founding in
1996. NBG is a part of the National Bank of Greece Group, one of
the oldest and strongest financial groups in Greece.
The $14.4 million project will establish five integrated shopping outlets
for a full range of home improvement and repair products in Sofia, Plovdiv
and Varna in Bulgaria, and Scopje in Macedonia. The stores will also
be providing technical advice and bringing in the latest know-how and application
techniques to Bulgaria. Doverie Brico will be a pioneer in offering
a wide range of international quality home improvement products under one
roof at competitive prices.
The agreement was signed in Bulgaria by Mr. Khosrow K. Zamani, Director
of IFC’s Southern Europe & Central Asia Department. Mr. Zamani
said that the investment signals IFC's continued commitment to supporting
the local private sector in Bulgaria through long-term finance that is
not easily available in the country.
The project will provide an outlet for local production and stimulate the
home improvement and construction services industry. It will increase
competition in the retail sector and improve retailing standards in the
region. Standardization, a larger selection of products, and reliable
supply that will come with the project should make it easier for smaller
companies to enter the market and improve quality of service.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in
the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial
markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and
businesses. To date, IFC has approved $136.5 million in investments
in 11 projects in Bulgaria with a total cost of $539.0 million.