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IFC INVESTS $15 MILLION IN ECUADORIAN BANANA PRODUCER


Jannette Esguerra
Phone:  (202) 458-5204
Fax:    (202) 974-4384
E-mail: jesguerra@ifc.org


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 8,000 Ecuadorans.  


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 businesses.