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IFC Invests $11 Million in UHL to Finance the Lagos Novotel


In Washington:
Ahmed Badawi-Malik

Phone: +1 (202) 458-7148

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Abadawi@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C./LAGOS, May 27, 2004 — The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, announced today that it will provide an $11 million loan to UPDC Hotels Limited (UHL). UHL will use the funds to renovate the recently privatized FESTAC 77 hotel complex and make it into a three-star hotel, with 449 rooms, conference facilities, a business center, health club, and some retail and commercial office space. The hotel, due to be renamed Novotel Festac Lagos, will be run by Accor Afrique – a leading international hotel operator. The Lagos Novotel aims to capture the three-star market because most international hotels in Lagos currently cater only to the four- and five-star markets.

UHL is owned by UACN Property Development Company PLC (UPDC) – a Nigerian company that engages in the acquisition, development, and management of residential and commercial property. Stephen Mayaki, UPDC Managing Director, noted the “strong growth potential of the Lagos Novotel because of its size and strategic location, close to the airport and the city’s ports, and well placed to tap into wholesale trade-related visitors from neighboring ECOWAS countries.” Mr. Mayaki added, “UPDC combines its experience in managing over 120,000 m2 of investment properties across Nigeria with the experience of Accor Afrique, ensuring that Lagos Novotel will provide quality service and in a sustainable manner.”


IFC’s participation in the loan, in collaboration with Chartered Bank, proved critical in structuring the long-term financing package, which would otherwise not have been readily available in the Nigerian financial sector. Hayd
e Celaya, IFC Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, said, “IFC is pleased to be associated with this initiative, which supports the growth of the non-oil sector in Nigeria.” She added, “Our investment in UHL underlines the importance and continuing commitment that IFC attaches to facilitating private participation in key infrastructure areas in Nigeria. This investment fits well with the progress that Nigeria is making with its economic reform agenda, including privatizations such as the FESTAC 77 hotel complex.”

The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) 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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37 billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held for participants in loan syndications.