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IFC and IFC Capitalization Fund Invest $140 Million in Bank South Pacific to Extend Financial Services Across the Pacific Region


In Sydney:
Sara King
Phone: (+612) 9235 6524
E-mail: Sking@ifc.org

In Washington:
Alexandra Klopfer
Phone: +1 (202) 473 4645
E-mail: Aklopfer@ifc.org

Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, June 24, 2010—In its largest investment in the Pacific region to date, IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and IFC Capitalization Fund signed an agreement to invest $140 million in Bank South Pacific (BSP) to help expand financial services and bolster the bank’s presence across the Pacific islands.

IFC is supporting the bank’s long-term growth plans by buying a five percent stake from the Independent Public Business Corporation of Papua New Guinea, a government-owned investment body, while the IFC Capitalization Fund is acquiring another five percent of shares by subscribing to newly issued shares of BSP. The total share purchase will be for up to $110 million.  

In addition, IFC is providing a long-term $30 million senior loan, enabling BSP to participate more fully in foreign currency lending opportunities.

“IFC’s financial commitment reflects its confidence in our bank’s strength and growth strategy,” said Ian Clyne, BSP’s Managing Director.  “Its investment and technical expertise that will be available via targeted technical assistance programs will further build and diversify our capital and customer base, allowing us to position ourselves as a leading provider for banking services in the Pacific.”

BSP is Papua New Guinea’s largest retail and commercial bank with operations extending to the Pacific islands of Fiji, Niue, and the Solomon Islands.  With IFC’s support, BSP will broaden services to small to midsize businesses and to rural clients by expanding innovations such as mobile phone banking.  Efforts also will be made to create professional development opportunities for the bank’s staff.

“IFC is pleased to partner with BSP to help extend financial services to customers who may otherwise not be able to obtain the financing needed to do business and improve living standards,” said Karin Finkelston, IFC Director for East Asia Pacific.  “As IFC’s biggest investment in the Pacific to date, it represents a significant milestone for us in the region and we look forward to working with the shareholders to achieve the bank’s growth aspirations.”

Promoting sustainable and inclusive growth by expanding access to finance is a priority for IFC in Papua New Guinea. Through integrated investment and advisory services, IFC helps build the private sector to create jobs, raise living standards, and reduce poverty.

The $3 billion IFC Capitalization Fund, founded by IFC and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), is a global equity and subordinated debt fund that aims to support banks considered vital to the financial system of an emerging market country. By supporting systemic institutions, the fund aims to speed up economic recovery and boost job creation while reducing the impact of the global financial crisis. The fund is managed by IFC’s Asset Management Company.

About IFC
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 BSP
Headquartered at Port Moresby, BSP is PNG's largest retail and commercial bank with 35 branches in PNG and overseas branches in Niue (1), Fiji (20) and the Solomon Islands (8) making it one of the largest businesses in the Pacific. BSP currently holds in excess of 50% of the market share of both deposits and loans in PNG, 30% of the market in the Solomon Islands, and nearly 20% of the market in Fiji. As at 31 December 2009, BSP held total assets of K8.1 billion (Group K9.4 billion).  BSP is a publicly listed company incorporated in PNG and its shares are listed on the Port Moresby Stock Exchange. Its shares are widely held by individuals, companies and financial institutions, the majority of which are PNG nationals.  Standard & Poor’s have rated BSP as B+ Stable. More information on BSP is available at www.bsp.com.pg.  

About IFC Asset Management Company
The IFC Asset Management Company LLC (AMC) is a subsidiary of IFC and was established to manage third party capital in the form of private equity funds. The AMC mobilizes third party capital and allows outside investors to benefit from IFC’s expertise in achieving strong equity returns as well as development impact. It also manages the IFC Capitalization Fund.  For information about IFC Capitalization Fund, visit http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/about.nsf/Content/FinancialCrisis_CapFund.

About Japan Bank for International Cooperation
JBIC is the international wing of the Japan Finance Corporation (JFC), Japan’s policy-based financing institution established on October 1, 2008. It succeeded International Financial Operations of former JBIC and will continue to use the name of JBIC to maintain international trust and confidence it has gained. JBIC provides policy-based finance with a mission to contribute to the sound development of the Japanese and international economy, including finance responding to disruptions in financial order in the international economy. For more information, visit www.jbic.go.jp.