Washington, D.C./Monrovia, July 21,
2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide long-term
financing to Salala Rubber, one of Liberia’s leading rubber companies,
to help rehabilitate and expand its plantations, optimize processing capacity,
and increase employment. The $10 million, 11-year loan is IFC’s largest
agribusiness investment to date in this post-conflict country.
Salala Rubber will use part of the funds
to develop and upgrade social infrastructure that was damaged during Liberia’s
civil conflict. The loan’s long tenor will provide the company with the
flexibility to invest in rubber trees, which typically start producing
latex in their seventh year after planting.
“IFC’s financing will help expedite
the rehabilitation of our plantations and allow us to make critical upgrades
to worker housing, clinics, and schools,” said John Hawkins, Salala Rubber
Corporation’s Board Chairman. “This investment is a vote of confidence
in our company.”
“Developing agribusiness in Liberia
and other post-conflict countries is a priority for IFC. The sector has
the potential to create significant rural employment and generate income,”
said Imoni Akpofure, Acting IFC Director for Africa.
“IFC is keen on developing the agribusiness
sector in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Oscar Chemerinski, IFC Director for
Agribusiness. “This financing to the Salala Rubber Corporation demonstrates
our confidence in Liberia’s economy and the future of the sector.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC's vision is that people should have
the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC
committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.
About the Salala Rubber Corporation
Salala Rubber Corporation is an integrated
rubber producing and processing company, established from a merger in July
2007 between Weala Rubber Company, a rubber processing factory, and the
former Salala Rubber Corporation, a standalone rubber tree plantation.
The company purchases up to 80 percent of its rubber requirements from
farmers in rural areas. It also exports semi-processed rubber to several
global tire manufacturers.