Washington D.C., May 15, 2006—The
International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, has signed an agreement to provide a $58.5 million long-term
syndicated facility to Grupo Financiero Uno, one of the leading financial
groups in Central America. IFC’s financing will support the expansion
and consolidation of the group’s operations in the region.
The facility consists of a $58.5 million syndicated loan, or B-loan, in
which five international financial institutions have participated, including
Cordiant Capital of Canada, J.P. Morgan of the United States, Natexis Banque
of France, and RBTT Bank Limited and Republic Bank Limited of Trinidad
and Tobago. IFC also provided from its own account a direct long-term financing
for $30 million that was arranged previously.
IFC’s participation in this transaction provided the risk mitigation necessary
to attract banks to longer-term financing in Central America. “This transaction
is very significant for Central America, since it is the first time a domestic
financial institution has received an unsecured syndicated loan with a
tenor of more than five years” said IFC Vice President, Finance, Nina
Shapiro. “This syndication’s success demonstrates how IFC’s B-loans
can be effective tools to raise long-term international funding in emerging
IFC is committed to supporting Central American financial institutions
as the region’s countries seek to increase their competitiveness in the
face of accelerating globalization.
“IFC’s investment will constitute a signal of approval in the international
market and help put Grupo Financiero Uno on a very competitive footing
at a time when the recently signed Central America Free Trade Agreement
is creating new opportunities and challenges for the private sector and
the region’s governments,” said Atul Mehta, IFC’s Director for Latin
America and the Caribbean.
Dr. Ernesto Fernandez Holmann, Chairman of the Board of Grupo Financiero
Uno called the new agreement “a key step in promoting Central American
risk with international banks for tenors exceeding those that could otherwise
be raised by Central American financial institutions in international markets.”
He added, “It also underlines the close cooperation that has developed
between IFC and Grupo Financiero Uno.”
Grupo Financiero Uno provides, through a network of affiliated companies,
retail banking, credit cards, insurance, and asset management services
to more than a million retail customers in Central America. Today, it has
operations in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua,
IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered
in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the other
institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.
Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively
determine its policies.
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own
funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140
developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was
$19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants
in loan syndications. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.