Port of Spain, Trinidad/Washington DC, February
6, 2002—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector
arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement for a US$20 million
credit line with Royal Merchant Bank and Finance Company Limited (RMB)
of Trinidad and Tobago that will help support projects in small-market
countries in the Caribbean that have limited access to international finance.
RMB is a wholly owned subsidiary of RBTT Financial Holdings Limited, one
of Trinidad and Tobago’s leading financial services groups. The
Group’s network of subsidiaries and affiliates across the Caribbean will
enable IFC to provide long-term funding to energy, manufacturing, tourism,
agribusiness and infrastructure projects throughout the Caribbean.
Bernard Pasquier, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said:
“IFC is pleased to establish a relationship with a strong local partner
like Royal and will continue to be active in supporting the Caribbean region’s
growth and development.” Mr. Pasquier added: “By lending through
one of the locally owned banks, IFC shows its confidence in the Trinidad
and Tobago economy and financial system, while bringing international environmental
and risk management standards to the Caribbean.”
Terrence Martins, Group Chief Executive Officer for RBTT Financial Holdings,
noted: “IFC’s financing will support RMB’s continued regional
expansion, strengthening the bank’s project finance services, and helping
support Caribbean entrepreneurs in the service and industrial sectors.”
This credit line to RMB is IFC’s first financial sector investment in
Trinidad and Tobago since the mid-1980’s, and will help establish a foundation
for other IFC financial markets development work in the country. IFC’s
current held portfolio in Trinidad and Tobago accounts for up to $60 million
in sectors such as manufacturing, energy and financial services. Companies
that had received financing from IFC in the past include the gas company
Messer Trinidad & Tobago Limited, Caribbean Ispat Ltd steel facility
and Unicell Paper Mills Caribbean Ltd.
Since 1996, IFC has approved 21 projects in the English-speaking Caribbean
and the Dominican Republic with a total cost of more than $1.2 billion.
In addition to investing $308 million of its own funds, IFC has mobilized
an additional $242 million in funding from various local and international
RBTT Financial Holdings Limited is integrated by 30 financial subsidiaries
and affiliate companies, including insurance, commercial banking and asset
management. The largest subsidiary in the RBTT Group is Royal Bank
of Trinidad and Tobago, the commercial banking subsidiary.
IFC’s mission 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, and provides technical
assistance and advice to governments and businesses. Since its founding
in 1956 through the close of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2001, IFC
committed more than $31 billion of its own funds and arranged $20 billion
in syndications for 2,636 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s
committed portfolio at the end of FY01 was $14.3 billion.