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IFC to support to facilitate growth of small businesses

COMMITMENT: IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, reinforced its ongoing commitment to Sri Lanka’s Commercial Bank of Ceylon with a $7.4 million rights subscription.

The rights issue will assist the bank in its regional and local growth, including the retail and small and medium enterprise segments of Sri Lanka, bringing improved services to a larger population.

IFC has maintained a long-term relationship with the Commercial Bank of Ceylon (CBC) since 2003. IFC has also been actively involved on the bank’s board, assisted in its outreach in the Asian region and, recently, has helped introduce value added advisory services for its SME line of business.

Managing Director, Commercial Bank of Ceylon Amitha Goonaratne said, “We are encouraged by IFC’s continued support and value its advice. IFC’s participation also provides comfort to our other stakeholders.”

He expressed appreciation of IFC’s global experience that has brought ongoing benefits to the bank and has helped improve management practices.

“Supporting an institution like the Commercial Bank of Ceylon in its growth phase will promote development of efficient banking operations in Sri Lanka’s banking sector.

“We see a continued role for IFC as the bank moves to the next stage of growth locally as well as internationally,” explained IFC Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives Gilles Galludec.

“This additional investment underpins IFC’s belief in the bank’s ability to deliver in challenging times and in its potential as a regional player,” added Jeetendra Marcelline, IFC Head of Investments in Sri Lanka and Maldives.

IFC’s support to CBC aligns with its strategy of partnering with financial institutions that have regional growth potential and that are committed to developing Sri Lanka’s SME sector. IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.

IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives.

Through FY06, IFC Financial Products have committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries.

IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability.

For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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Produced by Lake House Copyright 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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