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IFC Announces its First Equity Investment in an Armenian Bank


In Washington, DC:


Thoko Moyo
Phone: +1 (202) 458-8517
E-mail: Tmoyo@ifc.org

Washington, D.C., July 17, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank group, has agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Inecobank of Armenia.  This is IFC’s first equity investment in an Armenian bank.

In June, IFC announced it will provide Inecobank with a $3 million senior loan to grow its small and medium enterprise and residential mortgage portfolios.

Edward Nassim, IFC’s director of Central and Eastern Europe, said, “We are pleased to begin our partnership with Inecobank. With IFC’s financing, the bank will substantially expand its mortgages financing program, which will play an important role in raising living standards of Armenian citizens.”

Armenia became an IFC member in 1995. The Corporation began investing in the country in 2000.  As of July 2006, IFC has invested $17.29 million in five projects.  IFC continues to explore the investment opportunities in partnership with strategic investors in both the financial and real sectors of the country.  In addition to the investment program, IFC has been providing advisory services on corporate governance, improvement of the investment climate, and small and medium enterprise development.

About Inecobank
Inecobank is one of the 10 largest Armenian banks by equity and assets with a market share of about 4 percent.  The bank had net worth of approximately $12 million and total assets of approximately $40 million equivalent as of the end of 2005.  It owns a network of six commercial offices in Yerevan as well as in the main Armenian regions (Shirak, Lori, and Armavir).  Today the bank focuses on serving small and medium enterprises and retail clients, especially in consumer financing, where the bank has been a pioneer and still is the market leader.

About IFC
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.  IFC finances private sector investments in emerging markets, 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries.  For more information, visit www.ifc.org.