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IFC Providing $160 Million to Finance Chile’s La Higuera Hydropower Plant


In Washington D.C.:
Adriana Gómez

Phone: +1 202 478 5204

E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org


Washington DC, November 10, 2005.— The International Finance Corporation will provide $160 million for construction of Chile’s La Higuera hydropower project to help meet the country’s increasing energy needs.

La Higuera is the first project-financed hydropower plant to be built in Chile in recent years. The project is a 155 megawatt run-of- river hydroelectric power plant. It will be built in the Tinguiririca Valley, about 150 km south of Santiago.  

The project is being developed by a 50:50 consortium consisting of Australia’s Pacific Hydro Limited and Statkraft Norfund Power Invest AS (SNPI) of Norway.   Pacific Hydro was founded in 1992, and its core business is the development of hydro and wind power projects.  SNPI was established in 2002 as a joint venture between Statkraft SF and the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries; its objective is to develop, own, and operate environmentally-friendly hydropower assets.

IFC’s long-term financing consists of a $35 million loan for IFC’s own account, a $115 million syndicated loan for the account of participating banks, and a $10 million subordinated loan for IFC’s own account. Banco Santander Central Hispano S.A., DnB NOR Bank ASA, and HSH Nordbank AG joined the syndicated program as lead arrangers.  Nordea Bank Norge ASA is the lead manager, and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken AB joined as a participant.

Francisco Tourreilles, IFC’s Director for Infrastructure, said, “IFC's financing of La Higuera will help expand capacity for renewable generation of electricity in Chile.  This is crucial to support the country's economic growth and help reduce carbon emissions associated with power generation. We are happy to be partnering with Pacific Hydro and Statkraft Norfund Power Invest in this important project.”

Atul Mehta, IFC’s Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, noted, “This project fits with IFC’s strategy to finance infrastructure projects in the region -- projects that address the developmental needs of each country.  The La Higuera project is also a tribute to Chile’s transparent and competitive regulatory system.”

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.  For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.