Support For The Region, Even In Tough Times

03/22/2010

The IIC, a multilateral financial institution, renews its commitment to SMEs in Latin America and the Caribbean and celebrates, in Cancun, 25 years of operations

Cancun, Mexico - On March 23, 2010, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) presented its financial results during the twenty-fifth annual meeting of its Board of Governors. The Governors, who represent the IIC’s member countries, ratified the results. The IIC is a multilateral finance organization that provides financing directly and indirectly to small and medium-size enterprises in the region.

In the context of the worldwide economic crisis, the IIC responded swiftly to preserve the sustainability of its long-term strategy and emerged from the crisis on sound financial footing. It increased its provisioning by more than 20% to address the increased level of risk generated by international financial turmoil. The loan loss provision went from US$55.1 million in 2008 to US$66.5 million in 2009.

Despite the worldwide financial setback, the IIC reported a profit for the seventh year in a row. In early 2010 Moody’s maintained its Aa2 rating for the IIC on the basis of the IIC’s sound financial profile and strategic and operating initiatives.

Nevertheless, the economic recession in the region affected the IIC’s profitability and thus its operating income. Development assets, net of provisions, decreased from US$879 million in 2008 to US$823 million in 2009. Although the past-due portfolio remained at 0.7%, impaired loans went from 0.1% in 2008 to 3.6% in 2009. However, as of year-end 2009, the ratio of loan loss provisions to past-due loans was 12 times. The ratio of loan loss provisions to impaired loans was 2 times.

In 2009, the IIC approved forty operations and channeled US$299 million in investments and direct loans to SMEs in the region. Seventeen of these operations were with financial institutions for a total of US$192 million in approvals. Cofinancing operations approved during the year totaled US$342 million. The IIC closed fiscal 2009 with US$1.424 billion in assets.

"Across 25 years, through economic upswings and downturns, the IIC has become a reliable partner and effective catalyst for expanding economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. We have joined forces with SMEs throughout the region to help them overcome challenges so they can continue to drive development. Proof of this can be found in our activities during 2009. For the near term, we will focus on promoting and supporting creative projects carried out by pioneering SMEs to build on Latin America’s and the Caribbean’s potential in the knowledge economy and add value," said IIC General Manager Jacques Rogozinski.

Strategic Initiatives Aimed at SMEs

In 2009 the People’s Republic of China became the IIC’s forty-fourth member country and established the US$75 million China–IIC Trust Fund for making equity and quasi-equity investments. The IIC assigned an additional US$75 million in resources to complement those provided by the fund and to mobilize additional capital toward the region.

To address the dearth of short-term credit during the economic downturn, the IIC launched a new working capital initiative under which it provided loans totaling US$35 million. The IIC continued to provide SMEs with standardized, small loans under an expedited approval process that is part of its Small Business Revolving line or SBRL.

The FINPYME program continued to expand, putting a wealth of expertise within the reach of SMEs in order to help them become more competitive and improve their access to financing. In 2009, FINPYME was extended to include four English-speaking Caribbean countries, Belize, and Colombia, thanks to resources from trust funds established by the Republic of Korea and Spain. FINPYME ExportPlus was launched in Guatemala with support from the Government of Italy. FINPYME ExportPlus in Haiti received funding from Belgium’s Walloon Region.

Among the year’s other highlights were the approval of the IIC’s first operation with a company in Haiti and the consolidation of GREENPYME, a program that promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency among SMEs. GREENPYME carried out activities in The Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, and Jamaica in 2009, with support from the Austrian trust fund for technical assistance.

About the IIC

The IIC 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

This press relase is also available in French and Portuguese

Contact Information
Steven Reed
Stevenr@iadb.org
+1 (202) 623 3981 in Washington D.C.

Sylvia Szankay (press)
sylviasz@iadb.org
+1 (202) 623 3878 in Washington D.C.

Contact: Sylvia Szankay

Telephone: (202) 623-3878

Email: sylviaz@iadb.org