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OPIC invests USD 176 million in seven Georgian businesses

By Mzia Kupunia
Tuesday, October 28
TBC Bank has received USD 40 million from the OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) to expand its residential mortgage lending programme in Georgia. The signing of the agreement to this effect on Monday formed part of the two-day US-Georgia Business Summit held to promote trade and investments in the country, hosted by the US Commerce Deputy Secretary John Sullivan.

“This investment is extremely important for us, because getting any financial resource has become very difficult due to the world financial crisis,” the Chairman of the TBC Supervisory Board Mamuka Khazaradze said, adding that the funds will be used to promote the development of small and medium-sized businesses, as well as the real estate business in Georgia.

“This is the first agreement between OPIC and TBC Bank, we are also planning to sign additional agreements in November,” Khazaradze noted.

The US-based agency OPIC, which focuses on investing in emerging markets and developing nations worldwide, has announced it will invest some USD 176 to finance seven new projects in Georgia, developed by TBC Bank, Bank of Georgia, Park Hyatt Tbilisi, GMT Real Estate, GMT Mtatsminda, Sante GMT Products and SB Iberia.

“We are in Georgia today to demonstrate the United States’ ongoing support for Georgia’s economic development, recognizing the sacrifices the nation has made to open its markets and enable its citizens to participate in the global economy,” President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation Robert Mosbacher told the Summit. Mosbacher stressed that despite the difficulties the country has suffered recently, Georgia has remained one of the most attractive places for doing business. “Georgia is the only place I have seen where the Government is so committed to creating a positive and attractive environment for business and investments,” Mosbacher said.

The OPIC President said that the fields in which the company has invested, have been chosen on recommendation from the Georgian Government, in consideration of the major needs of the Georgian business sphere. “For these new projects OPIC has carefully identified sectors – finance, construction, tourism and manufacturing – that can best catalyze Georgia’s economic growth,” Mosbacher said. “These are the sectors which the Government of Georgia has urged us to support. These projects will support the growth of Georgia’s financial and economic infrastructure by creating new jobs and stimulating secondary economic activity,” he added.

Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, who attended the US-Georgia Business Summit, pointed out the importance of foreign investments for the country’s economy in the present crisis and noted that the United States has been the biggest supporter of Georgia. “So far we have received our greatest support in all economic areas, including the financial sphere, from the USA. We are expecting large amounts of funds from other donor organizations like the EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and IFC (International Finance Corporation), however I am pleased to note that OPIC is the first among them to make investments in our country,” the Prime Minister said.

The US-Georgia Business Summit, highlighting trade and investment opportunities in Georgia, will end on Tuesday with a joint press conference by Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze and US Commerce Deputy Secretary John Sullivan.

Editors note: this article was ready for print before the sudden resignation of the Georgian Prime Minister was announced. More about this will appear in “News in brief.” Gurgenidze will continue as Caretaker Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister is appointed.