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IFC to Invest Euro 15 Million to Modernize Romanian Cable Manufacturing Plant


Bucharest:                
Ana Maria Mihaescu        

Phone:  (40-1) 211-2866        

Fax:  (40-1) 211-3141        

E-Mail:  
amihaescu@ifc.org        

Afshin Molavi

E-mail:  amolavi@ifc.org

Phone:  (202) 458-5674

Fax:  (202) 974-4384


E-mail:  
amolavi@ifc.org


Washington, D.C/Bucharest October 24, 2001—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, will invest Euro 15 million to refurbish and modernize a cable manufacturing plant, ICME ECAB, in Bucharest, Romania.  The aim of the project is to create a modern, cost-efficient, environmentally sustainable plant producing a wide variety of cables, conductors and wires.

The IFC loan will be coupled with an investment exceeding Euro 15 million by Hellenic Cables, the leading cable manufacturer in Greece.  The investment will create new employment opportunities, both directly with the company and indirectly through associated suppliers.


The agreement was signed in Romania by Ms. Sujata Lamba, IFC’s Manager for Southern Europe/Central Asia. “The investment signals IFC's continued commitment to promoting private sector development in Romania through long-term finance that is not easily available in the country,” Ms. Lamba said.  “We are pleased to support the  modernization of ICME ECAB, a major productive asset and a key employer in the region. Since IFC’s first visit last year, we have witnessed substantial improvement in both the plant’s production process and its environmental condition.  We would like to acknowledge the progress that has been made by Hellenic Cables’ and ICME’s teams in this regard,” she added.


Mr. Khosrow K. Zamani, IFC’s Director for the Southern Europe/Central Asia Department noted that the agreement between IFC and ICME has been signed on the eve of the Second Regional Conference for Southeast Europe organized by the Stability Pact and the Romanian Government. The conference will include discussions on macroeconomic stability, market-oriented reforms, and foreign direct investment in Southeast Europe.  The Stability Pact, a group of more than 40 partner countries and multilateral organizations, is dedicated to promoting peace and prosperity in the region.  “The investment in ICME is a model case of regional investment expansion, which is critical to improving regional stability by strengthening cross border cooperation and regional economic growth,” Mr. Zamani said.


Over the long term, the project is expected to serve as a model for further private sector development in Romania by providing a clear example of the successful application of modern management methods, the attraction of first-class industry sponsors, development of a key industry through strategic alliances, and the promotion of best practices in corporate governance. The project is also designed to meet the stringent environmental and social standards of the World Bank.


Hellenic Cables is the largest cable manufacturer in Greece.  It is a part of the Viohalco Group of Companies, the leading metals group in Greece, and one of the largest industrial enterprises in the country, employing more than 4,500 people. ICME ECAB marks IFC’s second project with the Viohalco Group. Earlier, IFC financed the post-privatization and modernization of its copper processing plant in Bulgaria, Sofia Med.  IFC expects to continue assisting the Group in its cross-border expansion across the region.


To date, IFC has approved $462.6 million in investments in 23 projects in Romania with a total cost of $1.1 billion.


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.