IIC Loan In Belize For Using Sugarcane Fiber To Generate Electricity

11/06/2006

Loan of up to US$6 million to Belize Co-Generation Energy Limited

Washington, D.C.-On November 7, 2006, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) approved a loan of up to US$6 million to Belize Co-Generation Energy Limited ("Belcogen").

The loan will be used to develop and build a 32.5-megawatt capacity cogeneration power plant. This biomass facility will be able to generate 27.5 megawatts by burning sugarcane fiber (bagasse) supplied by Belize Sugar Industries Limited (BSI).

Belcogen will provide electricity to Belize Electricity Limited, the national power distributor. This operation will enable Belize to reduce its dependence on imported electricity and promote the use of renewable energy sources as a substitute for fossil fuels. The approximately 1.1 million tons of sugarcane that BSI processes each harvest is supplied by 8,000 independent growers. BSI offers its growers technical support and training on land preparation and provides cane seeds, agricultural inputs, and equipment.

According to Joey Montalvo, Belice Sugar Industry 's chief exectutive officer, "IIC recognised the vitally important nature of the project to BSI, the Belize private sector, the development of the Belize electricity sector, and the nation. Belcogen will supply over 20% of the nation’s energy demand from a national, renewable, and sustainable resource at a commercially competitive tariff that provides significant long-term foreign exchange savings to the nation."

The project will generate fifty direct jobs during the eighteen-month construction period and twenty direct jobs for plant operations. Other lenders participated with the IIC in this operation, including Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de la Infraestructura (CIFI) as arranger. The IIC is one of CIFI’s shareholders.

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 stimulating 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: Gustavo Romero (in Washington D.C.)

Telephone: (202) 623-3855

Email: gustavorc@iadb.org