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IFC INVESTS IN CROATIAN SHIPYARD


Brigid Janssen
Phone: (202) 458-4698
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: bjanssen@ifc.org


RIJEKA, CROATIA, March 14, 2000 - The International Finance Corporation will invest US$12.1 in Croatia's only privately owned shipyard, Viktor Lenac, the region's leading ship repair facility and the biggest on the Adriatic Sea.

Located close to Slovenia and Italy in the city of Rijeka, the company handles ship repair, ship conversion, and offshore construction. It is the only one of Croatia's six large shipyards that is privately owned and managed, and is the only heavy industrial company listed on Tier 1 of the Zagreb Stock Exchange.


Since Viktor Lenac was privatized in 1993, it has been transformed into a productive, profit-making enterprise, reducing the work force by half, lowering inventories and utilities costs, and upgrading equipment. The company successfully competes with the best Western European shipyards, with over three-fourths of its business coming from international markets. Viktor Lenac holds both ISO 9002 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environmental) certification. It is also certified to perform repairs for the U.S. Navy.


The project will enable the company to modernize its steel-handling capacity and productivity, and compete for more varied and larger projects. It supports a vital industry that will contribute to economic growth in Croatia.


Total project cost is $58.2 million. IFC's investment includes a loan of $6 million and an equity investment of up $6.1 million. IFC has also mobilized a $9 million B-loan for the account of participant banks HypoVereins Bank and Raiffeisen Bank.


The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private sector investment in developing countries, which will 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.