• IDB head lauds panama’s economic performance and management of the Canal
  • Reinforces confidence in Panama and the Canal Authority

PANAMA CI TY, Panama, September 17, 2008 – In a move that underscores the confidence of the international banking community in the economic achievements of the Torrijos Administration and the management of the Panama Canal, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) announced in a forum today that it is considering a $400 million loan to help finance the historic Panama Canal Expansion Program. The announcement came from Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the IDB, at a breakfast forum hosting President Martín Torrijos of Panama.

“Our interest in this project demonstrates our confidence in the economic transformation that you (President Torrijos) have been leading during your administration,” said Moreno.

President Moreno emphasized that Panama, under the leadership of President Martín Torrijos, has achieved impressive economic growth and performance. This has made it possible for the country to undertake the historic expansion project. Moreno also highlighted the sound financial management and the technical quality of the Panama Canal Expansion Program, which has helped the IDB in considering financing the said project.

“The IDB’s announcement signifies that Panama is on the right track. As a country, we have laid the foundation that helps to make the expansion project possible. In addition, this loan consideration reinforces the bank’s trust and confidence in the Panama Canal Authority,” said Alberto Alemán Zubieta. “Determining the financing structure for the Canal’s expansion is a critical part of the process, and we appreciate all of the interest received thus far.”

Expansion will build a new lane of traffic along the Panama Canal through the construction of a new set of locks, which will double capacity and allow more traffic and longer, wider ships.

Recently, the ACP received its first-ever investment grade rating. Moody’s Investors Services, one of the world’s top credit rating agencies, gave the ACP an A1 as a government related issuer, and a prospective A2 investment grade for the possible $2.3 billion financing for the expansion project, thus reaffirming Panama’s growing presence in the global marketplace.

Since July 2007, the ACP has been approaching financial institutions to determine the most viable financing for the waterway’s Expansion Program. The process began in Panama and continued with presentations to a number of financial institutions in New York, Washington, Hong Kong and London.

President Torrijos is in Washington, D.C. for the “Panama Forum” – a gathering of business executives and investors to share success stories on why they have chosen Panama as an investment location.

About the Panama Canal Authority (ACP)
The ACP is the autonomous agency of the Government of Panama in charge of managing, operating and maintaining the Panama Canal. The operation of the ACP is based on its organic law and the regulations approved by its Board of Directors. For more information, please refer to the ACP’s Web site: http://www.pancanal.com/.