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IFC Invests $45 mln in Bank of Georgia’s Lari-Denominated Bonds

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation said on Friday it had invested 108.3 million lari ($45 million) in Bank of Georgia’s first local-currency bonds sold outside Georgia, in a move intended to help attract investment in the country’s private sector.

Bank of Georgia, the country’s biggest bank by assets, priced 500 million lari worth of three-year lari-denominated bonds at 11 percent on May 25.

The Reg S/ Rule 144A senior unsecured notes are being issued and sold at a price of 100 percent. J.P. Morgan and Renaissance Capital acted as joint bookrunners. The issuance has attracted 500 million lari from about 20 international investors.

The three-year bond is the first off-shore local currency bond issued by a Georgian company, and also the first in the past decade from a former member of the Soviet Union other than Russia.

The IFC said that the issuance would allow the country’s leading bank to increase long-term local currency financing, which enables businesses to grow and avoid risks related to borrowing in a foreign currency.

The issuance will also support the country’s effort to reduce its reliance on foreign currency, the IFC said in a statement