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IFC Invests $2 Million in the Expansion of Kazakhstan Retail Sector


Mouayed Makhlouf        
E-mail:  
mmakhlouf@ifc.org

Phone:  (202) 458-5674
Fax:  (202) 974-4384


Afshin Molavi

Phone:  (202) 458-5674

Fax:  (202) 974-4384

E-mail:  
amolavi@ifc.org


Istanbul, Turkey, November 22, 2001—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to invest US$2 million in Rambutya Ltd, a Kazakh-Turkish joint venture which owns and operates a popular shopping center and two supermarket grocery stores, one in Almaty and one in Astana, the Kazakh capital.  The IFC investment will help the Company expand its supermarket locations in Astana, filling a growing need for high-quality grocery goods at affordable prices and raising the standard of supermarket retailing practices in the country.

Mr. Khosrow Zamani, Director of IFC's Southern Europe and Central Asia Department, said that IFC's investment reflects the Corporation’s commitment to supporting the Kazakh private sector. He said: “The two new supermarket locations will create much-needed new private sector jobs, introduce best practices in the retail and distribution sector, and support the efforts of a foreign investor with a history of private sector success in the country.”


The two new supermarkets – known as Ramstores – will display the same levels of hygiene, food safety, and quality consistency found in the other three Ramstores operated by Rambutya Ltd.  Rambutya is sponsored and managed by Migros, a leading supermarket chain in Turkey with 450 stores.  Migros is owned by the Koc group of Turkey.


The financing agreement was signed in Istanbul by Mr. Zamani and Mr. Oktay Irsidar, General Manager of Migros Türk.  “In view of the popularity of the stores and the growing demand for quality retailing facilities, Migros has decided to expand into two new stores where the demand for such facilities exists,” said Mr. Irsidar.


Mr. Zamani added: “Rambutya’s expansion will raise the overall standards of retailing in the country as other chains and competitors work out ways to improve the efficiency of their distribution and sales networks to match them.  This will, ultimately, benefit the Kazakh consumer as it strengthens the private retail and distribution sectors.”


The original Ramstore shopping center in Almaty – a virtual hypermarket established in 1999 that includes both a supermarket and traditional retail shopping – attracted immense interest from Kazakh consumers.  The massive complex covered an area of 25,050 square meters, becoming one of the largest shopping centers in Kazakhstan, a major job-creator, and a national shopping attraction. IFC also helped to finance this hypermarket with an $11 million loan.


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, IFC has 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
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