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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector financing arm of the World Bank Group, is providing $45 million in loans to two electricity distribution companies in Ukraine, AES KyivOblenergo (KOE) and AES Rivneenergo (RE). The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), based in Arlington, Virginia, USA, is a majority shareholder in both companies, Business Wire reported.
KOE and RE together serve 1.2 million customers from a population base of approximately 3 million people. KOE supplies electricity to the areas surrounding Kyiv (excluding the city of Kyiv) and RE supplies electricity to the northwest region of Ukraine. IFC's financing will help the companies reduce electricity losses, refurbish their distribution network equipment, increase the network capacity in high growth areas, and improve their overall management efficiency through investing in modern communication systems and information technology.
"IFC is committed to meeting Ukraine's infrastructure investment needs, especially with private companies like AES Corporation that are dedicated to high standards of service," said Francisco Tourreilles, director of IFC's Infrastructure Department. "IFC's investment will support the improvement of electricity services in Ukraine and provide an important signal for further private investment in Ukraine's energy sector."
"IFC is pleased to have committed its first investment in Ukraine's power sector," said Edward Nassim, IFC's director for Central and Eastern Europe. "IFC's investment will provide the necessary long term financing that is currently unavailable in Ukraine."
"AES is pleased to work with the IFC to support the growth and modernization of Ukraine's electric power system and to contribute to the economic development of the country," said Garry Levesley, AES Vice President, Ukraine. "Since privatization in 2001, AES has made significant improvements to the operation, reliability and network capacity of KOE and RE. The companies are already among the best performing electric utilities in Ukraine. Through this new, targeted investment, we will extend our commitment to operational excellence and bring additional benefits to our customers and other stakeholders."
The loans are denominated in US dollars and have the longest debt tenor for a privately owned infrastructure project in Ukraine. In addition to the loans, the IFC will provide a $5 million Partial Credit Guarantee (PCG), which will enable the two companies to mobilize an additional $30 million Hryvnia-equivalent long term debt. This will be the first PCG debt structuring in Hryvnia.
Ukraine became a shareholder of IFC in 1993. To date, IFC has invested $233 million across 16 projects in the country. IFC has significantly expanded its investment program in Ukraine in fiscal year 2004, committing $87 million in the agribusiness, financial, and general manufacturing sectors. IFC has also been conducting an extensive advisory program in Ukraine since 1992. Current donor-funded programs offer advice on corporate governance to companies and banks, seek to improve the business environment, and promote leasing, development of the agribusiness sector, and the growth of small and medium enterprises.