IHS IN OPIC-BACKED HOUSING INVESTMENT WORTH UP TO
A POTENTIAL US$1.0 BILLION
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IHS is a joint venture between MuniMae of the US and Irish investors including Cathal Conaty, CEO of IHS, and Frank Gormley, Chairman of top Irish development firm Howard Eurocape.
OPIC is the US government-sponsored agency that supports US private investment in emerging markets. It provides funding (from large structured finance transactions to small business loans), political risk insurance and other assistance to companies that, in turn, help promote the further economic development of developing countries.
Against stiff competition from a large number of applicants worldwide, IHS has won an OPIC tender that will see OPIC commit US$100 million in debt to the affordable housing effort. IHS will raise additional equity capital from third-party international investors and contribute its own funds as well. The OPIC and other funding can then be leveraged (at the project level) up to a potential maximum of 70%, providing a total potential commitment of up to US$1.0 billion to fund the construction of affordable housing, much of it in Jordan.
“We are very excited to have won such a competitive tender and to be able to bring such large amounts of foreign investment into the Middle East,” says Cathal Conaty, IHS CEO. “Both OPIC and IHS are committed to making a difference in developing countries around the world, and this amount of capital is a major step toward really making an impact.
He explains, “IHS has already been speaking to several international institutional capital providers who are keen to participate. Our US partner MuniMae has a long track record of successfully raising third-party capital for affordable housing projects nationally - the company is a leading provider of debt and equity financing for affordable housing in the US. So we are very confident of raising additional capital.”
“IHS has identified several housing projects in Jordan which are attractive investments. We looking at a number of deals, and will be announcing them once they have been finalised.”
“We can be a valuable partner in any local project because of our expertise in affordable housing and our understanding of what it takes to make these investments work. OPIC backing will help to lower our overall cost of funds. At the same time, however, we will not be providing finance directly to families, in the form of mortgages – we will always work through local developers and financial institutions to help families meet their housing needs,” Conaty stresses.
He concludes: “We are dedicated to helping bridge the housing gap that exists in Jordan and other parts of the Middle East. As with our business in the US, we want to reinforce the idea that ‘doing good’ can also make for good business.”
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