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IFC EXTENDS CREDIT FACILITY TO ARGENTINE BANK


L. Joseph


WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 10 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved a $15 million underwriting term credit facility for Banco General de Negocios S.A. (BGN), a leading Argentine bank based in Buenos Aires that will use the IFC financing to strengthen its underwriting operations. The financing consists of a $12 million loan to underwrite debt-related securities and a $3 million loan to underwrite equity shares. The credit facility will further develop BGN's local underwriting activities of U.S. dollar-denominated bonds, equity-linked instruments, and equity shares of both middle-market and recently privatized enterprises. It will offer private sector companies more flexibility to issue debt and equity securities at reasonable cost to raise funds for investment and increase competitiveness. As a viable funding alternative for enterprises seeking maturities longer than those offered by traditional commercial banking credits, it will help strengthen the Argentine bond market. In addition, it wil
l increase the range of investment opportunities for both institutional and individual investors. BGN's largest shareholders are the Rohm family. Other major shareholders include affiliates of Credit Suisse, Chemical Bank, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, and Dresdner Bank. Helmut Paul, Director of IFC's Latin America and Caribbean Department, said: "IFC's support is critical to the development of an efficient and diversified securities market in Argentina. This credit facility could also help in the future development of the new private pension system by increasing the supply of investable securities." IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and the largest source of multilateral financing for private sector projects in developing countries.