Washington DC, June 9, 2003—The International
Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World
Bank Group, will provide up to US$70 million to UP Offshore, a start-up
shipping group with subsidiaries incorporated in Brazil and Panama. The
investment will be used by UP Offshore for the acquisition of up to six
newly built platform supply vessels in order to provide transportation
services to oil and gas companies engaged in exploration and production
activities on the Brazilian Atlantic shelf.
This six-vessel construction program is the first phase of a larger program
to build and operate supply vessels to service the rapidly growing offshore
oil industry in Brazil. It will also promote the development of backward
linkages of various Brazilian industrial and service sectors, including
linkages between shipyards and local providers of components and materials
needed to built ships.
IFC's financial package for UP Offshore includes an equity investment of
up to $10 million for IFC's own account, loans of $24.7 million for IFC's
own account, and syndicated loans totaling $35.3 million for the account
of Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, Natexis Banques Populaires
and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.
UP Offshore is sponsored by Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Ltd., an established
shipping company with extensive tanker and river barge operations in Latin
America. The AIG-GE Capital Latin American Infrastructure Fund L.P. is
also a major shareholder in UP Offshore.
“This transaction is a good example of how IFC can apply its experience
in structuring and mobilizing funding for infrastructure projects in emerging
markets to support private sector involvement in key infrastructure areas,”
said Francisco Tourreilles, Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department,
adding “IFC’s financing for UP Offshore will strengthen Brazil’s efforts
to exploit deep-water natural resources important to the country’s economic
“By providing the long-term financing package to UP Offshore, IFC demonstrates
its continued support to the Brazilian private sector,” noted Bernard
Pasquier, IFC's Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department.
“Such support is especially important when access to long-term funds becomes
Brazil was the largest recipient of IFC's financing in fiscal year 2002,
not only in Latin America but also globally. IFC committed $619.6 million
in private sector projects in Brazil, in the financial sector as well as
in manufacturing, education, information technology, infrastructure and
The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org)
is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing 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. Since its founding in 1956 through
FY02, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged
$21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries.
IFC's worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its
own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.