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IFC Investment Supports Sociedades BolÝvar’s Reorganization, Strengthening Insurance Sector in Andean Region


In Washington:
Adriana Gomez

Phone: + (202) 458 5204

E-mail:
Agomez@ifc.org

Lotte Pang

Phone: + (202) 758 4290

E-mail:
Lpang@ifc.org

Contact in Sociedades BolÝvar, Colombia:

Julieta Dominguez – MB Comunicaciones
Phone: (571) 531 1420
E-mail:
julieta.dominguez@mbcomunicaciones.com


Bogota/Washington, D.C., December 14, 2007—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, announced today that it will invest in the insurance companies of Grupo Empresarial BolÝvar and support the Group┤s reorganization, helping strengthen the insurance sector in the Andean region.

Grupo BolÝvar, primarily a financial conglomerate based in Colombia, has been an IFC client for more than 30 years. IFC’s investment of up to $75 million in common equity will help Grupo BolÝvar eliminate nearly all cross-shareholdings among its companies, maximizing their transparency. The investment will also allow the group’s insurance companies to improve their solvency margins when compared with the levels achieved before the reorganization and elimination of cross-shareholdings.

JosÚ Alejandro CortÚs, President of Sociedades BolÝvar, the Group┤s holding company, said, “We are pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with IFC and to extend this partnership into the Group’s insurance operations. In addition to capital, IFC has contributed valuable knowledge and global experience to our reorganization. This has enabled us to provide the most effective form of capital to our insurance companies, allowing them to comply with local regulatory requirements.”

Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Vice President for Africa, Global Financial Markets, and Funds, said, “This transaction builds on the strong and synergistic relationship that IFC has developed with BolÝvar for over 30 years. It further demonstrates the high quality of the company’s management and commitment to good governance. Our investment reflects IFC’s strategy in the Andean region to support the development of the insurance and capital markets and build partnerships with local players that have an ability to expand financial services to underserved, lower-income segments.”

IFC supports the development of the financial sector in Colombia and across Latin America, with a focus on enhancing regional cooperation and helping companies build economies of scale. As of June 2007, IFC’s portfolio in Colombia was over $750 million. IFC’s strategy is to support institutions that have a regional focus and seek to access the sizeable regional market through better physical and financial infrastructure. IFC’s commitments in Latin America and the Caribbean reached $2.08 billion for 68 projects in FY07, of which $1.78 billion was for IFC's own account and nearly $300 million in loan participations.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About Grupo BolÝvar

Founded in 1939, BolÝvar is a locally owned group controlled by Sociedades BolÝvar, the Group┤s holding company.  With total assets of about $10 billion.  It is recognized as a financial innovator among its peers in Colombia and is a leading player in the country’s financial sector, including the insurance industry. For more than 60 years, Seguros BolÝvar, Seguros Comerciales BolÝvar and Capitalizadora BolÝvar, the insurance companies, have been offering high-quality insurance products, many of them targeted to lower-income segments of the market. Grupo BolÝvar includes, Davivienda (an IFC investee company), Constructora BolÝvar, Leasing BolÝvar, and a host of smaller entities such as mutual funds, software, marketing, and promotion companies. BolÝvar’s banking and insurance operations have a strong franchise value and are considered industry leaders by retail clients, according to local market assessment surveys.