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IFC TO FINANCE ARGENTINE INFRASTRUCTURE FIRM


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-7997


WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 16 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved US$100 million in financing for Socma Americana S.A. (Socma), one of the principal holding companies of Argentina's Macri Group, to help fund investments in infrastructure, high-technology information systems, and food processing. Socma-related companies are now making a range of investments with an estimated total cost of US$740 million. Around 75 percent of these investments will be in the infrastructure sector. Two of Socma's subsidiaries, Sideco Americana S.A. and Itron S.A., are responsible for the Group's infrastructure and information systems activities, respectively. IFC is providing a US$25 million loan to Socma for its own account and is arranging a US$60 million loan to be syndicated with international financial institutions. Approximately US$50 million of the loan will be on-lent to various operational subsidiaries to help fund their investment programs. IFC will also make an equity investment of US$15 million in
Sideco Americana S.A. "One of IFC's major objectives in Argentina is to help develop and expand the efficiency of private companies in the infrastructure sector," according to Mr. Helmut Paul, Director of IFC's Latin America and the Caribbean Department. "These investments provides IFC an opportunity to finance diverse new investments in this and other priority sectors." "Socma's infrastructure investments are bringing private capital and management expertise to a sector that has suffered from decades of under-funding and poor maintenance," added Mr. Everett J. Santos, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department. "These investments will provide a wide variety of improved infrastructure services for the citizens of Argentina." IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan finance for private sector projects in developing countries.