IFC Provides $9M to Zeus Ceramica in Ukraine

Washington, DC, June 22, 2006--The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, provided a $9 million loan to Zeus Ceramica, a ceramic tile manufacturer located in Slovyansk, Donetsk Region in Ukraine. IFC’s financing will help the company expand its operations and improve its balance sheet. Zeus Ceramica was established in 2003 as a joint venture between Emilceramica S.p.A., an Italian ceramic tile producer, and Yuzhno-Oktiabrskie Gliny YUG, a Ukrainian supplier of clay and kaolin, the main raw material in the production of ceramic tiles. With an annual production capacity of 2 million square meters, Zeus Ceramica manufactures a wide range of ceramic tiles at its facilities in Slovyansk. The company will more than double its capacity and broaden its product mix to target a larger customer base. Villiam Tioli, Zeus Ceramica’s chairman of the board, said, “The expansion constitutes a significant step for Zeus Ceramica to become one of the largest manufacturers of high-quality ceramic tiles in Ukraine and to strengthen its position in the market. IFC funding is essential in our endeavor to establish a stronger presence in this high-growth market and will help us strengthen our balance sheet.” Dimitris Tsitsiragos, IFC’s director for global manufacturing and services, said, “IFC is pleased to support Zeus Ceramica’s expansion. The company’s growth will further contribute to the economic development of Slovyansk. We look forward to our future cooperation as the company continues to grow.” The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies. The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org). is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications. Ukraine became a shareholder and a member of IFC in 1993. As of May 31, 2006, IFC has invested more than $505 million in 26 projects. IFC expanded its investment program in Ukraine significantly in 2004-2005, committing $255 million in the agribusiness, financial, and general manufacturing sectors. IFC has also been conducting an extensive advisory program since 1992, which initially focused on the privatization of small businesses, land, and idle construction sites. Current donor-funded programs offer advice on corporate governance, leasing, and agribusiness. IFC also seeks to improve the business environment and promote growth of small and medium enterprises.