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BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT TO ACQUIRE ADDITIONAL SHARES OF IFC'S CAPITAL


Brigid Janssen
Phone:(202) 458-4698
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:BJanssen@ifc.org


SOFIA, BULGARIA, January 22, 1998 --- The Bulgarian Government has purchased additional shares in the International Finance Corporation, raising Bulgarian paid-in capital from US$1 million to $3 million.

The purchase of 3,078 shares was a signal of support for IFC and its mandate to build the private sector in the developing world and transition countries, as well as a reflection of the Bulgarian government's determination to move forward with reform and development of its private sector.


Minister of Finance Muravei Radev signed on behalf of the Government with representatives of the World Bank Group in attendance.  Minister Radev reiterated that the Government of Bulgaria attaches high priority to the private sector providing development leadership to help achieve high and sustainable growth of the Bulgarian economy.  In subscribing to the IFC general capital increase, the Government wishes to encourage the local and the international business communities to take advantage of IFC's willingness to support viable investment opportunities in Bulgaria.


Mr. Pieter Stek, World Bank Executive Director for Bulgaria said that Bulgaria's participation in IFC's capital increase is indeed an important step towards its integration into the international community, showing the commitment of the Government to follow its well defined path towards developing a market economy.  Mr. Harold Rosen, Director of the Central and Southern Europe Department added that the participation sends a clear signal to the private sector, potential foreign investors, and the international banking community that Bulgaria continues to create a welcoming environment for much needed private investment in every aspect of the economy.


IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.


To date, IFC has signed commitments to invest US$82 million in five projects in Bulgaria with a total cost of US$379 million.  IFC expects to develop a strong program in Bulgaria in the coming years and already has several projects under consideration.  In the area of advisory services, the Foreign Investment Advisory Service (FIAS) operated jointly by IFC and the IBRD is planning to undertake a study of administrative barriers to investment in Bulgaria.