Leg Up

March 06 (LBO) –International Finance Corporation (IFC) is looking for opportunities to help top Sri Lankan firms venture abroad, and is aiming to more than double its portfolio over two years, officials said. On Tuesday IFC had signed up with Nations Trust Bank to provide trade finance guarantees, following a similar agreement with National Development Bank a week earlier.

IFC was founded in 1956, and now has 179 member countries and a 10 million US dollar capital base. “We believe we can increase our portfolio to 200 million dollars over the next two years from the current level,” Iyad Malas, IFC’s regional director for South Asia told reporters.

IFC, the World Bank’s private sector finance arm, now has 86 million dollars invested in equity and debt in the country.

“In terms of companies we are talking to six or seven companies,” IFC country manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives Gilles Galludec told LBO.

“Definitely we could have a potential of reaching 200 million dollars in the next two years.”

IFC had invested 68 million dollars in the Maldive Islands and was helping its government privatize a housing finance firm.

South Asia Gateway Terminals, a John Keells Holdings joint ve