Washington, D.C., June 29, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, has become one of 12 shareholders of
the Latin American Agribusiness Corporation (LAAD) to support the company’s
long-term financing for small and medium agribusiness companies across
15 countries in Latin America. IFC has acquired shares in LAAD from Hexion.
IFC’s investment in LAAD, a financial intermediary that specializes in
lending to SMEs in the agribusiness sector, will allow smaller farmers
to have access to long-term financing, which is currently scarce in the
region, especially for agriculture and agribusiness SMEs. Commercial lenders
perceive the sector to be risky especially in the current market conditions
of tight liquidity and volatility of agricultural commodity prices. LAAD
provides loans of less than $3 million to small and medium farmers to help
modernize and expand their operations.
“This equity investment is strengthening our long-term partnership with
IFC, and it shows the commitment of both organizations to improving access
to finance for agribusiness companies in Latin America. LAAD and IFC share
the same values and development goals,” said Benjamin Fernandez, LAAD’s
Chief Executive Officer.
Oscar Chemerinski, IFC Director for Agribusiness, said: “LAAD has an excellent
track record of more than 30 years in the market of financing agribusiness
SMEs. Through our long-term partnership with the company, IFC is helping
expand access to financing essential to the growth and increased competitiveness
of these enterprises.”
This is IFC’s third investment in LAAD. In 2002 and 2006 IFC provided
the company with $20 million and $30 million loans respectively.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.
About LAAD S.A.
LAAD is financial intermediary that specializes in lending to agribusiness
SMEs. LAAD operates in 15 Latin American countries and supports farmers
who produce a variety of products, ranging from soybean and grains to livestock,
fruits, vegetables, flowers, and ornamental plants for exports. In many
cases LAAD supports local, family-owned, businesses and long term investments.
For more information, visit www.laadsa.com.