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IFC Provides $40 Million Long-Term Loan To Banco De Galicia Y Buenos Aires S.A.In Argentina


In Washington:
Adriana Gomez

Tel: (202) 458 5204

E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org

In Banco de Galicia:

Constanza Gorleri

Departamento de Asuntos Institucionales
Tel:+ (54 11) 6329-4973

E-mail:
constanza.gorleri@bancogalicia.com.ar


Washington, D.C., May 20, 2005—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement with Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A. in Argentina to provide a $40 million seven-year loan facility.  The proceeds will be used by the bank to on-lend to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and mid-sized Argentine corporate borrowers with exporting and other hard-currency generating capacity.  This investment marks IFC’s first direct financing to an Argentine financial institution since the onset of the Argentine financial crisis.

Banco Galicia is the largest private sector commercial bank in Argentina in terms of assets ($7.8 billion as of March 31, 2005) and third in terms of shareholders’ equity ($417 million as of March 31, 2005).  In May 2004, Banco Galicia successfully completed a debt restructuring totaling $1.37 billion, in which IFC served as chair of the Ad Hoc Steering Committee of Banco Galicia’s unsecured creditors.  Building on that important milestone, the bank has steadily increased its private sector lending activities while increasing its deposit market share.  


Jyrki I. Koskelo, IFC’s Global Financial Markets director, said, “IFC is pleased to support Banco Galicia, as the bank reengages in providing long-term financing to a core segment of Argentina’s productive base.  We expect the Argentine banking sector to maintain its improving trend, with the continued support of the Argentine authorities on remaining structural issues.  As Banco Galicia approaches its 100th anniversary, its strong and resilient franchise and clear vision provide a base for success in a rapidly changing environment.”


Sergio Grinenco, vice chairman of Banco Galcia, acknowledged IFC’s strong

support and underscored the opportunity that the Bank will have, through this facility, to finance export-oriented projects of small and medium enterprises in Argentina. “Banco Galicia,” he said, “is a leading financial institution in providing finance to these sectors of the Argentine economy.”


Atul Mehta, IFC’s director for Latin America, added, “The reactivation of the private banking sector as a dynamic player in credit intermediation is crucial to the sustainable recovery of the Argentine economy.  IFC welcomes and supports Banco Galicia’s efforts to make long-term funding more accessible to viable borrowers in Argentina.”


Argentina has steadily regained economic ground. In tandem with this recovery, the banking sector is now faced with rapidly increasing credit demand stemming from the sharp growth rates in exports, the creation and expansion of SMEs, and industrial output.  IFC recognizes Banco Galicia’s particular expertise in funding SME, corporate and agribusiness borrowers.


From the beginning of the financial crisis in Argentina, IFC has played an essential role supporting its clients in the private sector. IFC remained engaged in Argentina throughout the crisis, providing over $300 million in financing from June 2002 to date.  


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition economies, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the emerging markets, 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 FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.