Moscow, December 10, 2003 – The International
Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group,
signed an agreement today to provide a three year $40 million Ruble-linked
revolving loan to Russian Standard Bank (RSB), a private Russian bank specialized
in consumer finance. IFC’s investment will support RSB’s further
development and strengthen its capacity to offer retail lending products
to the Russian population.
This is IFC’s first loan transaction tied to Russian Rubles. RSB
will be able to borrow funds on a revolving basis in US Dollars or alternatively
as Ruble-linked financing. The recent stabilization of the Russian
currency and overall improvement of the country’s business environment
made this type of financing possible.
IFC has worked with RSB for over two years. This is the fourth IFC financing
to support RSB’s expansion. In October 2001, IFC provided a $10
million partial credit guarantee on RSB’s first issue of Ruble bonds,
which was the first such transaction in the Russian market. In December
2002 IFC issued a partial credit guarantee on RSB’s Ruble promissory notes.
In February 2003, IFC made a $10 million equity investment
in the Bank, the only IFC equity investment in a Russian bank after the
1998 financial crisis.
“The operation is a perfect example of our strategy in Russia to
build long-term partnerships with leading independent commercial banks.
Russian Standard Bank is an innovative partner and a pioneer of consumer
finance in the country. RSB is growing fast and by providing flexible
financing. IFC will support its new growth targets,” said Edward Nassim,
IFC’s Moscow-based Director for Central and Eastern Europe.
“IFC is helping to reduce Russian Standard Bank’s foreign exchange risk
with the Ruble-linked loan which was developed by IFC’s Treasury. We
will be able to use the same approach with IFC’s other borrowers in Russia.
IFC is pleased to roll out implementation of this new product with
an innovative client such as RSB” said Mr. Declan Duff, Director of IFC’s
Global Financial Markets Department.
Roustam Tariko, Chairman of RSB’s Board of Directors, also noted: “RSB
specializes in creating new products for the consumer market based on high
technologies. The participation of IFC helps us accelerate our development
and further improve the quality of our services.”
Dimitry Levin, RSB’s Chief Executive Officer, added: “The revolving Ruble-linked
loan from IFC, a new instrument in the market, confirms the pioneering
role of RSB in introducing new credit technologies in Russia and its leading
position in consumer lending market.”
Following its founding in 1999, RSB has built a leading market position
in consumer lending and has become one of the fastest growing banks in
Russia with total assets of 12 billion Rubles and loan portfolio of 10
billion Rubles as of October 31, 2003. With strong funding base and
access to capital markets, RSB is planning to continue its expansion in
Moscow and the regions and increase its customer base from 1.3 million
individuals in 2003 to 2.3 million individuals in 2004.
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 $16.7 billion for its own account and
$6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.
Russia joined IFC in 1993. Since then IFC has invested over $1.3 billion
to finance nearly 70 projects across a variety of sectors. IFC significantly
increased its investment program in Russia in the last two years, investing
$217 million in FY02 (July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2002) and nearly $500 million
FY03. IFC’s increased activity reflects the improving investment
climate in Russia, greater opportunities in an increasingly broad range
of sectors, and stronger foreign investor interest.