Washington, D.C., August 3, 2001—The
International Finance Corporation has disbursed US$25 million in financing
to Teléfonica Celular de Bolivia S.A. (Telecel) to help fund expansion
and further digitization of the Telecel mobile cellular telecommunications
network and refinance existing debt. The project will to help improve
communications in Bolivia, increase efficiency in the business community,
and provide better links to the global economy.
IFC invested $15 million for its own account and helped arrange the remaining
$10 million in participant loans from BCEE Luxembourg and Nordea (Sweden).
A parallel loan of $10 million was provided by FMO, also known as
the Netherlands Development Finance Company. This is FMO’s first
loan to Telecel and is the first in a series of investments in the Bolivian
The financing represents IFC's second investment in Telecel Bolivia. In
1996, IFC arranged loans of $35 million to finance the expansion of the
company’s network from eight cell sites to a total of 52.
Mohsen Khalil, Director of IFC's Global Information and Communication
Technologies Department, said, “This investment will actively promote
competition and make cellular communications more accessible to larger
segments of the population. It also demonstrates IFC's commitment
to support the development of Bolivia's private sector and its economic
Telecel is wholly owned by Millicom International Cellular SA (MIC), a
leading international operator of cellular telephone services in emerging
markets where wireline penetration rates are relatively low and subscriber
growth prospects are very attractive in comparison with the more mature
western markets. MIC currently has interests in 34 operations in
21 countries in Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Africa, covering a population
under cellular license of about 584 million.
one of three mobile operators in Bolivia, launched its service in November
1991 as the first cellular mobile operator in the country. Since
1996, Telecel has exceeded projections with the number of subscribers increasing
from 10,000 to over 300,000.
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org),
part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable private sector
investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve
people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in emerging
markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and
provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.