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IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program Expands in Argentina


In Washington, D.C.

Rita Jupe

Phone: + 1 (202) 458-8967

Email:
rjupe@ifc.org

In Sao Paulo


Karina Manasseh

Phone: 55 11 5185 6881

E-mail:
Kmanasseh@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., May 29, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that Banco Patagonia of Argentina has joined its Global Trade Finance Program as an issuing bank.

Under the global program, IFC has approved a trade line for Banco Patagonia, a midsize bank focused mainly on small and medium enterprises.

James Scriven, IFC’s associate director for Global Financial Markets, Latin America, said, “IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will allow Banco Patagonia to increase its trade finance business worldwide, expand its portfolio to include larger deals and potentially new clients, and meet the demand from clients importing from or exporting to countries where the bank does not have correspondent bank relationships.”

Through the program, IFC provides guarantees covering bank risk related to underlying trade transactions for the private sector in emerging markets. The program is aimed at supporting trade with emerging markets worldwide and promoting flows of goods and services between developing countries.

Yolande Duhem, IFC’s senior country manager for Argentina, said, “A key objective of IFC in Argentina is to support export-oriented companies and the growth of small and medium enterprises. The Global Trade Finance Program helps us implement this strategy.”

The agreement with Banco Patagonia was signed on May 29 in Buenos Aires on the occasion of the 22nd Latin American Foreign Trade Congress, Latin America’s largest trade finance event.

Mariano Antonovich, Banco Patagonia’s head of finance, said, “We are delighted to begin a relationship with IFC through the Global Trade Finance Program. This will allow us to continue supporting our SME clients’ growth and development while enhancing international trade companies in Argentina.” Antonovich added that this agreement represents the first step in a very ambitious project for both organizations and that they are very excited in exploring more business opportunities together in the near future.

IFC in Argentina

From July 1, 2005 to March 2006 IFC has committed $233 million for IFC’s own account and an additional $383 million in syndications in private sector projects in Argentina. IFC’s total portfolio in the country as of December 2005 is $1,029 million.

In Argentina IFC has been shifting its focus from short-term lines to long-term financing.  IFC’s priorities for its direct investments will be to provide long-term financing and structured finance products to companies and projects in strategic sectors with a focus on groups expanding on a South-South basis and export-oriented or export facilitating projects.  Strategic focus sectors are oil, gas and mining, agribusiness and forestry products and the financial sector with a focus on high impact projects such as housing and support of export-oriented SMEs.

The International Finance Corporation 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/gtfp.

About Banco Patagonia


Banco Patagonia is a leading financial services company in the Argentine market, with a wide range of corporate customers, in particular companies with a special interest in exporters and importers, and retail banking.  Present in every major city throughout the country, Banco Patagonia has more than 140 banking centers. Banco Patagonia’s position in Argentina shows assets for 4.39 billion argentine pesos, credits for 1.92 billion, deposits for 2.73 billion, and equity of 904 million. For more information, visit
www.bancopatagonia.com.ar.