IDB Group Approves $11 Million For Surinamese Company C. Kersten & Co. N.V.

02/12/2007

Washington, D.C.- On February 13, 2007, in a joint operation between the Inter-American Development Bank and the Inter-American Investment Corporation, the Boards of Directors of both institutions have approved senior secured loans totaling $11 million for the Surinamese holding company, C. Kersten & Co. N.V. (Kersten).

Kersten is the oldest trading company in the Western hemisphere, founded in 1768. Today it represents one of the largest private sector groups in Suriname which includes 12 operating companies, with a total of 650 employees. The main Kersten subsidiaries are key players in growth sectors of the economy such as mining, infrastructure and tourism.

The IDB group’s loans are part of a larger financing package totaling approximately US$25 million that has been structured in partnership with Sagicor Merchant Limited of Trinidad, and local banks including De Surinaamsche Bank, (the largest commercial bank in Suriname), Finabank and the insurance company Assuria.

"CKC is undergoing a significant restructuring and expansion plan under new management and the project team has been impressed by the quality and vision of the new management team," said Peter Stevenson, the project team co-leader at the IDB.

The total package includes funds for refinancing, capital expenditures and working capital, with tenors of up to seven years.

Sotero Arizu, the project team co-leader at the IIC, added, "The IDB group’s long-term facilities will greatly enhance the ability of the Kersten Group to achieve its long-term expansion objectives in a sustainable manner. We are very pleased with the excellent cooperation with local and regional financial institutions in putting this financing package together."

This is the IDB group’s first private sector lending operation in Suriname. The loan is one of the first granted after the expansion of the IDB’s lending program to include private companies in any economic sector. This expansion was approved by the IDB Board of Governors in April 2006 and became effective in August.

The Inter-American Investment Corporation is a multilateral financial institution that is a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group. It provides financing (in the form of equity investments, loans, guarantees, and other instruments) and advisory services to private enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean. The IIC's mission is to promote the economic development of its regional member countries by encouraging the establishment, expansion, and modernization of private enterprises, particularly those that are small and medium in size. For more information on the IIC's activities, please visit www.iic.int.

Contact: Sotero Arizu (in Washington D.C.)

Telephone: (202) 623-3907

Email: soteroa@iadb.org