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IFC APPROVES CREDIT LINE FOR BANCO LIBERAL IN BRAZIL


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-6828
Antonio Lemgruber
(5521) 212-4000


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved a US$10 million underwriting credit line for Banco Liberal of Brazil, which will use the proceeds to underwrite bonds issued by local small and medium-sized companies. IFC will also receive a stock option enabling it to purchase up to 15 percent of the bank's common shares.

As part of its investment program, IFC will take a seat on Banco Liberal's Board of Directors and assist the bank's ongoing efforts to adopt international best practices for its local bond underwriting activities, thereby supporting the continued development of this market. This is the first time that the Corporation will be represented on the Board of a Brazilian investment bank.


"This project will play an important role in strengthening investment banking in Brazil by supporting Liberal's underwriting activities and fostering competition in the marketplace," said Mr. Helmut Paul, Director of IFC's Latin America and the Caribbean Department. "Small and medium-sized companies will gain more access to investment banking services in general and longer-term debt financing in particular."


Brazil's bond market is dominated by issues by non-bank financial institutions, such as leasing companies, which accounted for 60 percent of the market during 1994-95. Only about nine percent of issues during this period were by private companies, with only about two percent of total issues from small and medium-sized firms.


IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the leading multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries.