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    Start-up operation in Brazil receives $70 million from IFC

    News // June 20, 2003
    The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, has announced that it will provide up to US$70 million to UP Offshore, a start-up shipping group with subsidiaries incorporated in Brazil and Panama.

    The investment will be used by UP Offshore for the acquisition of up to six newly built platform supply vessels in order to provide transportation services to oil and gas companies engaged in exploration and production activities on the Brazilian Atlantic shelf.

    This six-vessel construction programme is the first phase of a larger programme to build and operate supply vessels to service the rapidly growing offshore oil industry in Brazil. It will also promote the development of backward linkages of various Brazilian industrial and service sectors, including linkages between shipyards and local providers of components and materials needed to build ships.

    IFC's financial package for UP Offshore includes an equity investment of up to $10 million for IFC's own account, loans of $24.7 million for IFC's own account, and syndicated loans totaling $35.3 million for the account of Caterpillar Financial ServicesCorporation, Natexis Banques Populaires and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij Voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO).

    UP Offshore is sponsored by Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Ltd, an established shipping company with extensive tanker and river barge operations in Latin America. The AIG-GE Capital Latin American Infrastructure Fund LP is also a major shareholder in UP Offshore.

    "This transaction is a good example of how IFC can apply its experience in structuring and mobilizing funding for infrastructure projects in emerging markets to support private sector involvement in key infrastructure areas," said Francisco Tourreilles,Director of IFC's Infrastructure Department, adding "IFC's financing for UP Offshore will strengthen Brazil's efforts to exploit deep-water natural resources important to the country's economic growth."

    "By providing the long-term financing package to UP Offshore, IFC demonstrates its continued support to the Brazilian private sector," noted Bernard Pasquier, IFC's Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department. "Such support is especially important when access to long-term funds becomes more difficult."

    Brazil was the largest recipient of IFC's financing in fiscal year 2002, not only in Latin America but also globally. IFC committed $619.6 million in private sector projects in Brazil, in the financial sector as well as in manufacturing, education, information technology, infrastructure and retail.

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