CAIRO/WASHINGTON D.C., January 26, 2004—The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, has agreed to provide a $15 million loan to Lecico Egypt S.A.E.
(Lecico Egypt), Egypt’s leading sanitary ware and ceramic tiles manufacturer,
headquartered in Alexandria. The company plans to use IFC financing to
expand its production capacity in Egypt and to improve its balance sheet
Lecico Egypt was established in 1975 by the Gargour family of Lebanon.
Since 1997, one of its major shareholders has been the Sanitec Group, the
leading manufacturer of bathroom ceramics and shower products in Europe.
Lecico Egypt and its subsidiaries are the largest producer and exporter
of sanitary ware in the Middle East, with a production capacity of 4 million
pieces per annum in Egypt and 1 million in Lebanon. It is also one
of the leading ceramic tile producers in the Middle East, with a production
capacity of 13 million square meters per annum in Egypt and 1.3 million
square meters in Lebanon.
Sami Haddad, IFC Regional Director for Middle East & North Africa,
noted that “this investment highlights IFC's commitment to Egypt's private
sector development, which is the main engine of growth and the major creator
of new jobs". He added, "The capacity expansion will help boost
Egypt's export competitiveness and contribute to foreign exchange earnings."
The mission of IFC (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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
From its founding in 1956 through FY03, IFC has committed more than $37
billion of its own funds and arranged $22 billion in syndications for 2,990
companies in 140 developing countries. IFC's worldwide committed portfolio
as of FY03 was $16.8 billion for its own account and $6.6 billion held
for participants in loan syndications.