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IFC INVESTS US$300,000 IN INTERNATIONAL MAGHREB MERCHANT BANK


L. Joseph
(202) 473-7700


WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 11 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved an equity investment of US$0.3 million in the International Maghreb Merchant Bank (IM Bank), which will be the first merchant bank established in Tunisia. With a capital of US$3.0 million, IM Bank will offer the full range of merchant banking services, with an initial focus on international trade and project finance. The bank will aim at meeting the rapidly growing requirements of private companies in the Maghreb region. IM Bank is sponsored by Maghreb Finance Group, a Tunisian investment company founded by prominent businessmen and financiers with ties to corporate and government circles in Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The technical partner will be SociÈtÈ Marseillaise de CrÈdit, a French regional bank with strong business interests in southern Europe and the Maghreb. Creditanstalt Finanziaria Spa., the Italian merchant banking subsidiary of Creditanstalt Bankverein of Austria, will also be a shareholder. "The Maghreb reg
ion offers a large potential for trade and project finance," said Mr. AndrÈ Hovaguimian, Director of IFC's Central Asia, Middle East, and North Africa Department. "IM Bank will provide the financial expertise needed to tap this potential." "IM Bank will make an important contribution to the economies of the Maghreb countries as they are attracting significant amounts of foreign investments and will need to gain access to increasingly sophisticated equity, debt, and trade finance," added Mr. Jean-Michel Doublet, Senior IFC Investment Officer. "IFC's participation is part of the Corporation's continuing efforts to support the development of liberalized financial sectors in the region." IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing to private sector projects in developing countries.