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IFC Invests $40 Million in Top Financial Group in Central America


IFC, Washington D.C:
Adriana Gomez
Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Fax:  (202) 974-4384

E-mail:
 agomez@ifc.org

Cuscatlan in El Salvador:

Patricia Suncín de Jovel

Communications Director, Cuscatlan

El Salvador

Phone:  (503) 229-3012

E-mail:  
pdejovel@bancocuscatlan.com


Washington D.C, October 1, 2002—The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector developing arm of the World Bank Group, has signed an agreement to provide US$40 million to Union de Bancos Cuscatlan, one of the most important financial groups in Central America.

The IFC financing will help strengthen the Cuscatlan group’s capital base and will support the expansion and consolidation of its operations in Central America.  The operation includes an equity investment in Cuscatlan’s holding company and subordinated convertible loans to the group’s subsidiaries in El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica.


The agreement was signed today in Washington D.C. by IFC Chief Peter Woicke and

Mauricio Samayoa, President of Union de Bancos Cuscatlan.


Mr. Woicke, also Managing Director of the World Bank Group, said: “A vibrant and healthy private sector is a key element of economic growth and sustainable job-creation.  Strengthening the financial sector in Central America is a key IFC priority.  Our collaboration with Cuscatlan shows a clear commitment to pursue this objective and will establish a foundation for other financial markets development work in the region.”


Mr. Samayoa noted: “IFC’s investment is a vote of confidence in Cuscatlan and in the future of the Central American financial markets.  “He added: “IFC’s financial strength and experience will be invaluable as Central America strives to develop its financial infrastructure.”


Cuscatlan is headquartered in Panama, and is a well-diversified financial group with operations that span across the Central American region through subsidiaries in El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica.  The Group has 3, 277 employees, 144 branches and 365 ATMs.


IFC’s strategy in Central America focuses on encouraging economic growth, in particular via the development of regional financial and physical infrastructure, and supporting competitive manufacturing and services companies.  IFC’s investment in Cuscatlán is consistent with this strategy as it would help promote regional financial integration and increase the depth and soundness of financial systems in the region.


IFC’s mission (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to 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.  Since its founding in 1956, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC’s committed portfolio at the end of FY02 was $15.1 billion.

Banco Cuscatlan, S.A.