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IFC SUPPORTS GROWING BEVERAGE AND PACKAGING INDUSTRIES IN SOUTHERN CONE--Two Projects Signed; Two Other Regional Expansions Approved


Mauricio Perea
Phone: (202) 473-7997
Fax: (202) 676-0365


WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 8 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed financing agreements with two Brazilian companies -- Latas de Aluminio S.A. (Latasa) and Companhia Cervejaria Brahma -- that are expanding their operations due to the dynamic growth of the beverage industry in Brazil.

IFC has also approved two related cross-border investments by these companies. Latasa will invest in a new plant in Chile, while Brahma is expanding into Argentina.


"Growing, more open economies and rising demand in Latin America are prompting companies to modernize and expand their operations to maintain their competitiveness," according to Mr. Helmut Paul, Director of IFC's Latin America and the Caribbean Department. "IFC is actively supporting this process, as well as another important trend -- cross-border investments within the region," he added.


Latasa is carrying out a US$107.7 million investment program in response to the growing demand for aluminum cans, which are valued for their convenience by both bottlers and consumers and are also 100 percent recyclable. The company has installed an additional can body production line at its plant in Pouso Alegre, Minas Gerais and is expanding its can lid production at this plant. It also has constructed a new can body plant in Santa Cruz, Rio de Janeiro.


IFC is lending Latasa US$26 million, of which US$21 million will be provided by IFC from its own funds and US$5 million will come from three banks participating in an IFC syndicated loan -- Banque Européene pour l'Amerique Latine S.A., Deutsch-Südamerikanische AG, and ING Bank.


IFC has also approved an investment to assist Latasa's expansion into the Chilean market. Reynolds Chile S.A., a majority-owned subsidiary of Latasa, is constructing a new US$43.7 million can plant near Santiago. IFC is lending the company US$8.5 million and is making an equity investment of US$2.5 million in the project.


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Press Release No. 96/12, page 2 of 2


Brahma is undertaking a US$575.8 million two-year expansion and modernization program to meet the rising demand for beer and soft drinks in Brazil. The company will construct two new breweries, allowing it to close three obsolete plants, and upgrade seven existing plants.


IFC is providing two loans totaling US$35 million for its own account. IFC has also arranged a syndicated loan with 17 international commercial banks for a total of US$123 million, more than double the original target of US$60 million.


In addition, IFC has approved financing in support of Brahma's first foreign direct investment, a joint venture brewery in Argentina. CCBA S.A., a majority-owned subsidiary of Brahma, will construct and operate the new brewery, which will have an initial capacity of 1.5 million hectoliters, in a project with an estimated total cost of US$108 million.


The project will enable the company to build on its market share in Argentina, where it has been exporting for the past eight years and where demand for beer and soft drinks has also shown strong growth.


IFC is providing two loans totaling US$18.5 million for its own account and will arrange a syndicated loan of up to US$25 million with international commercial banks.


IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the leading multilateral source of equity and loan finance for private sector projects in developing countries.