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The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, will provide US$20mn in long-term debt financing to Inversionistas en Autotransportes Mexicanos (IAMSA). IAMSA and its affiliated companies, Omnibus de Mexico, Grupo Toluca and Flecha Amarilla, are among the largest intercity bus operators in Mexico. This is IFC’s first financing ever in the bus transport sector.

IFC’s financing will support the US$369mn fleet renovation programme the group is conducting between 2002 and 2005, which includes acquisition of 1,985 buses. The Mexican transportation group’s bus renewal programme is expected to have a number of significant impacts: increasing its fuel efficiency, reducing its emissions, lowering costs for operations and maintenance, and improving safety and service quality for customers.

Bus transport is the dominant mode of public transportation in Mexico, accounting for over 90% of total passenger transport. “IFC’s financing of fleet renewal for IAMSA group, one of the largest intercity bus operators in Mexico, will help provide modern and efficient intercity transport services in Mexico. These services play a critical role in the country’s economic activity, regional integration, and mobility for the local population,” says Francisco Tourreilles, director of IFC’s infrastructure department.

Bernard Pasquier, IFC’s director for Latin America and Caribbean, adds: “By supporting a leading group of bus operators in Mexico, this investment will contribute to development of the country’s transportation infrastructure. We look forward to working with IAMSA in supporting future investments.”

Rafael Herrera Fernández, president of IAMSA, notes: “Our group not only has the youngest fleets in the country, but also has a strong policy of innovation in its operations and administrative procedures. The group is committed to maintaining its leadership in implementing the most advanced technology for transport, communications, and information. This helps us provide the best service to clients, as well as protect the environment and serve local communities.”