WASHINGTON, D.C., June 1, 1999 — IFC is
investing up to US$15 million for the Favorita Fruit Company, Ltd. in Ecuador
to improve its products and services.
The project will support the $66.3 million expansion and modernization
of Favorita, a British Virgin Islands holding company of the Wong Group.
The plan being undertaken by the Wong Group is necessary in order
for the company to be more efficient by international standards.
The investment will finance the development of a port terminal in Guyaquil
which handles bananas, fertilizer, and container cargo. The new port will
improve service, lower operational and product costs and keep banana products
better preserved. The investment will fund a new banana plantation in the
northern Quevedo region to increase production and improve technical services
to 550 predominantly small outgrowers. It will also finance the expansion
and modernization of the group's cardboard box production in Machala, the
construction of a new office headquarters building, and the purchase of
machinery and agricultural equipment.
The project will build the traditional export sector and strengthen the
company's competitiveness internationally, said Tei Mante, Director of
IFC's Agribusiness Department. He added that the project would generate
about 800 new jobs, mainly in rural areas. As Ecuador's second largest
banana exporter and producer, the Wong Group already employs more than
Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH (DEG) of Germany
recently approved a $15 million loan for Favorita's outgrower financing
facility to onlend to Ecuador's very small banana farmers.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will 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