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IFC Invests Equity in Panama’s Grupo Mundial to Help Consolidate the Group’s Regional Expansion


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez

Phone: (202) 458 5204

E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org

Lotte Pang

Phone: (202) 458-0952

E-mail:
LPang@ifc.org


New York, NY, July 1, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a new investment in Panama-based financial conglomerate Grupo Mundial to help expand its insurance and banking services to underserved markets in Central America and Colombia. The investment will also help strengthen the group’s microfinance and remittance operations.

IFC’s $15.6 million equity investment in Grupo Mundial’s existing and new common shares will increase IFC’s stake in the group to 9.9 percent. This will be IFC’s third financing to the group, reaffirming its long-term partnership with a key financial player in Central America.  

Rodrigo Diaz, CEO of Grupo Mundial, said, “It is very important for us to strengthen our relationship with IFC. Its knowledge and active participation have been key factors in our group’s recent development, including our regional expansion, consolidation, and introduction to the microfinance sector. IFC’s investment will help us further develop our microfinance and microinsurance business, allowing us to reach the people most in need in the areas where we operate.”

James Scriven, IFC Director for Global Financial Markets, said, “IFC’s new investment in Grupo Mundial is consistent with our strategy in Central America to help develop insurance and financial markets, with a focus on low- and middle-income populations. Grupo Mundial is a market leader and innovator that has demonstrated its high-quality management and a commitment to addressing market gaps in the region.”


IFC’s first financing to Grupo Mundial in 2007 was a $25 million equivalent line of credit to its mortgage bank, Banvivienda, to expand housing finance for low-income families in Panama.  That same year, IFC invested $30 million equivalent in direct equity to help the group buy insurance companies in Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, and $40 million equivalent to support acquisitions in such priority sectors as insurance, microinsurance, and microfinance. This financing also enabled Grupo Mundial to acquire Giros y Finanzas, a financial firm in Colombia that offers remittance services to the country’s poorest people.


IFC is expanding its operations in Central America, focusing on helping develop the financial sector and supporting regional integration through private sector participation in infrastructure projects. IFC is also focusing on helping firms involved in agriculture and other services improve their competitiveness and expand within Central America and beyond. IFC’s total committed portfolio in Central America as of March 2008 was $581 million.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $10.0 billion, including syndications, to 299 investments in 69 developing countries. For more information, please visit
www.ifc.org.

About Grupo Mundial

Grupo Mundial is a financial conglomerate with insurance and banking operations in countries throughout Central America, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama, and in Colombia. The holding company was established in 2005. Its main assets are Banvivienda and Aseguradora Mundial. Grupo Mundial has been listed in the Panamanian Stock Exchange since December 2005.

Contact in Grupo Mundial:
Cesareo Garcia
E-mail: cgarcia@grupomundial.com