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.
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.