The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and Citibank N.A. signed a $60 million trade enhancement facility designed to help private sector Egyptian importers with financing for the import of capital goods and raw materials.
The four-year revolving facility will give private sector businesses in Egypt better access to qualifying trade credit instruments originated by selected commercial banks. The facility will include five banks in Egypt—National Bank of Egypt, Banque Misr, Egyptian American Bank, Export Development Bank of Egypt and Misr International Bank. IFC will guarantee 50 percent of each transaction.
Karl Voltaire, IFC's director for Global Financial Markets, said, "This facility will enhance the availability of trade finance to Egyptian importers by helping supplement country limits currently available to commercial banks operating in Egypt. It will help maintain the level of trade finance flows to the private sector in Egypt at a time when such finance is needed".
Sami Haddad, IFC's director for the Middle East and North Africa, added: "Given the various adverse external shocks, it is particularly important to maintain trade flows since they contribute significantly to the level of economic activity in Egypt. IFC is also considering participating in other projects that will help strengthen Egypt's economy and restore investor confidence."
Michel Accad, Citibank region head for North and West Africa, said, "This new facility will allow us to multiply and enhance our correspondent banking business in Egypt, making additional facilities available to Egyptian banks who fit a strong risk profile. The trade enhancement facility is the first such partnership between the IFC and Citibank, which we hope to replicate in other countries in the area".
Egypt is the corporation's twelfth largest exposure country. As of end-January 2003, IFC's exposure in Egypt was $268 million for IFC's own account plus another $335 million for the account of participants in IFC's B-loan program. As of March 25, 2003, IFC's exposure to Egypt's financial sector in terms of disbursed and outstanding was $33 million.
This investment fits well within IFC's strategy and the overall World Bank Group strategy for Egypt as it will help further develop the financial sector, increase overall trade and support private sector businesses by enabling local commercial banks to extend longer tenor trade credit.
Citigroup recorded net income of $15.28 billion for the 12 months ended December 31, 2002, an eight percent increase over 2001. Core income for the year was also a record, at $13.65 billion, or $2.63 per share. Citigroup is assigned a "AA-" Senior Debt rating by Standard & Poor’s, "Aa1" Senior Debt rating by Moodys and "AA+" by Fitch.
Citibank's presence in Egypt dates back to 1955, when it opened the first branch of a US commercial bank in the Middle East. In 1993, it gained a license to operate in local currency thereby setting the stage for the establishment of a full scale Global Corporate Investment Bank offering banking products covering Corporate Finance, Treasury, Custody, Cash Management, Trade and e-solutions to its corporate customers, as well as serving the local bank and non-bank financial institutions.
IFC's mission 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, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
Since its founding in 1956, 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 committed portfolio at the end of FY02 was $15.1 billion, with an additional $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications. — (menareport.com)
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