Washington, D.C., March 30, 2010—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement to invest up
to $19 million in Panamanian-based QBE del Istmo Compañía de Reaseguros,
Inc. to help the reinsurance company strengthen its capital base, improve
corporate governance standards, and offer new products such as microinsurance
and health insurance.
QBE del Istmo operates in more than
20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. IFC’s investment includes
up to $9 million in common equity stock, or up to a 7.5 percent capital
share, and up to $10 million in preferred stock, part of a $27 million
joint financing package being provided with the Inter-American Investment
Corporation. The money will support the company’s strategic regional expansion.
Giri Jadeja, Senior Manager for IFC
Financial Markets, said, “This project is part of IFC’s strategy to scale
up our insurance business in the Latin American and Caribbean regions.
We consider QBE del Istmo as a reliable and strategic insurance partner
to help us promote international best practices in risk management and
boost the level of reinsurance and insurance access in the regions.”
Ramon Fernandez Q., Chairman of the
Board of QBE del Istmo, said: "IFC's investment is a vote of confidence
in QBE del Istmo and in the future of the Latin American and Caribbean
insurance industry. IFC’s financial strength and experience will be invaluable
as the region strives to develop its financial infrastructure.”
The investment in QBE del Istmo is part
of IFC’s broader strategy to create opportunities for growth. Economic
growth and sustainable development in Latin America and the Caribbean is
hurt by the limited availability of affordable insurance and reinsurance
products for individuals and local businesses. IFC works to provide equity
and capacity-building services to locally based insurance and reinsurance
companies that have a regional focus.
IFC is the only international financial
institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable
development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking
a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for
the poor in developing countries—including by helping extend insurance
access in Latin America and the Caribbean.
MBA Lazard acted as exclusive financial
advisor to QBE del Istmo on this transaction.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives.
We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting
private sector development, mobilizing capital for private enterprise,
and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments.
Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel
capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
About QBE del Istmo
QBE del Istmo is a full-line reinsurer
with over 30 years in the Latin American market. Headquartered in Panama,
the company has reinsurance, insurance, brokerage, and dental service operations
throughout Latin America. As of December 2009, QBE del Istmo had written
premiums of about $164.5 million and shareholder’s equity of $81.9 million.
The company’s business model is based on serving small to midsize local
insurance companies in Latin America and the Caribbean, where its technical
expertise is sought. For more information, visit www.istmore.com.