IIC Helps Improve Profitability And Financial Efficiency Of Chilean Fishing Company


A loan of up to US$3 million will allow Austral Food S.A. to finance working capital and expand its supply chain

Washington, D.C.- On April 10, 2007, the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC) approved a loan of up to US$3 million to Austral Food S.A. (Austral). This will enable the company to finance its current growth resulting from new sources of fish and thus finance new inventory and accounts receivable.

Austral Food processes and exports fresh fish, principally Chilean sea bass, swordfish, southern hake, salmon, and other seafood. The company purchases fresh fish from local independent fishermen and international suppliers. Locally, Austral is supplied by approximately 102 independent fishermen who own semiindustrial boats.

Ricardo Baeza and José Antonio Otero, Austral Food S.A.'s main shareholders, stressed that "local financing is not available on terms similar to the IIC's, especially the 27-month grace period, so we will be able to build part of the permanent working capital base needed for expansion in the coming years as outlined in Austral Food's business plan."

The company has a close relationship with fishermen; it invests an average of US$5,500 in preparations for departure. The company will also expand its supply chain to include suppliers in Uruguay, which will deseasonalize the fish supply and integrate regional economic activity. Austral Food S.A.'s main export markets, where it sells 87.1% of its production, are Europe, the United States, and Asia.

According to Ana María Orellana, the officer in charge of the operation, "with this loan, the IIC is seeking to support the development of the Chilean fishing and aquaculture sectors, whose export sales are expected to increase 17% by 2009."

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: Ana María Orellana (in Chile)

Telephone: + (562) 431-3707

Email: anamariao@iadb.org