YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, on Monday issued a 2 billion dram (approximately $5 million) bond to strengthen Armenia’s capital markets and boost lending to the private sector.
The bond is IFC’s first dram issuance. It is also the first placement by a non-resident issuer and the first foreign corporate bond issued in Armenia’s capital markets.
Named “Sevan,” after Armenia’s largest lake, the bond is part of an 8 billion dram bond program under which IFC can issue bonds when market opportunities align with the funding needs of the country’s private sector.
“Deep, liquid domestic capital markets are the foundations of lasting growth and shared prosperity because they create access to finance for the private sector,” said Jingdong Hua, IFC Vice President and Treasurer. “IFC is committed to supporting the development of the domestic markets in Armenia. We hope that this bond will send a clear signal to other high quality foreign issuers that Armenia is ready to welcome them.”
Most of the bond investors are Armenian financial institutions, which in turn support private sector development in Armenia.
“The IFC Sevan bond offers a high-quality investment alternative for institutional investors and makes available funds that can be put to work in the local economy,” said Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus. “IFC is happy to support the deepening of Armenian capital markets.”
Over the years, IFC has issued bonds in 14 local currencies, including the Brazilian real, the Chinese renminbi, the Nigeria naira, and the Russia ruble. Often, IFC is the first international or corporate issuer of local-currency bonds in a market.