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IFC MAKES ITS FIRST INVESTMENT IN AN ASIAN COMMODITY EXCHANGE


L. Joseph
Phone: (202) 473-7700
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: ljoseph@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 13, 2000 --- In an initiative designed to bring new efficiency to the pulp and paper industry in developing countries, the International Finance Corporation is making an equity investment of US$1 million in AsiaPaperMarkets.com, an Internet-based marketplace, covering Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East.
AsiaPaperMarkets.com was created to make the paper industry more profitable through a neutral web-based tool that provides an independent marketplace for industry buyers and sellers; an alternate low cost channel for disposing of dormant or excess inventory for sellers; a simple process for obtaining the lowest price for buyers; an effective sales and purchase management system incorporating all relevant accounting, financing, logistics, and insurance services; a cost efficient process for managing supplies; and tools for asset recovery, contract management, and recruitment.
The Asian paper market shows strong growth but is plagued by low profitability, inventory buildup, and inefficient sales process. AsiaPaperMarkets.com aims to remove inefficient distribution networks, using the Internet's connectivity to eliminate geographical barriers, which will reduce costs in time and money. Transactions will be streamlined, information exchange will be easier and inventory and sales costs will be reduced. For the first time, the paper industry in emerging economies will be able to efficiently reach suppliers and customers, automate transaction processes and procurement, and have access to a relatively inexpensive and efficient maintenance system.
Mr. Javed Hamid, IFC Director for East Asia and Pacific, said the project gives IFC an opportunity to use its extensive experience in the pulp and paper industry to help harness technology on behalf of developing countries. It will improve supply chains, encourage and facilitate participation in the global market place, and make the industry more efficient, significantly reducing costs.
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.