With a growing commitment to clean energy, CIFI is bringing major projects to life across Latin America and the Caribbean
Over the last 20 years, Corporación Interamericana para el Financiamiento de Infraestructura (CIFI) has risen to become the leading non-banking financial institution in Latin America and the Caribbean, achieving this through a specific focus on financing middle market, private sector infrastructure projects across the region.
The level of expertise that CIFI has accumulated over the years has made it an essential partner for global companies and developers looking to finance new or expanding projects. CIFI has developed cutting-edge finance models that mitigates risk, and combines these assets with a deep knowledge of the region and a unique shareholding structure.
The institution has analysed more than 600 infrastructure projects and participated in the financing of more than 200 of these projects, disbursing an aggregate of $1.6bn throughout the region.
In line with global trends, CIFI is heavily involved in a number of renewable energy projects, making it a key player in the sustainable, economic development of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Every project is evaluated for its technical, economic and environmental viability during a thorough due diligence and structuring process. CIFI focuses on middle market infrastructure projects – projects which in general terms, represent a maximum investment of approximately $200m.
In 2016, CIFI relocated its headquarters to Panama City – a key regional financial centre that is home to many major banks. The institution was previously based in Washington DC, which was vital to its success thanks to the diverse cluster of multilateral organisations based in the city.
Operating from Panama City allows CIFI to be at the heart to the region it serves and streamline its objectives through a strategic geographical position.
CIFI’s shareholder structure is one of its most unique features, comprising financial institutions, private entities, and multilateral entities. CIFI’s management team also participates in the shareholding of the company. Besides its specialisation in infrastructures and its knowledge of the region.
CIFI offers three types of services to its clients:
- Working on financial solutions for new or expanding infrastructure projects.
- Offering advice to investment funds in the origination, structuring and monitoring of projects – so institutional investors can benefit from CIFI’s experience in the region’s infrastructure sector.
- As a financial intermediary, CIFI invests its own capital and mobilises resources from financial institutions and capital markets through its own balance sheet to finance these projects. It also invites other banks to co-finance these projects via a loan syndication arrangement.
CIFI has demonstrated its commitment to combating climate change by financing green projects that have played a part in greenhouse gas reductions equivalent to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, according to data from 2018 and 2019. These renewable energy projects have benefited more than two million people in the region by providing access to clean energy. In addition to this, CIFI has developed its own supervisory system that rates operations according to their credit quality, incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria to improve the risk profile of projects financed.
Within the framework of this strategy, CIFI closed 2019 by consolidating its position as a regional issuer, with a placement on the Panama and El Salvador Stock Exchange of $42.4m as part of an issuance programme of up to $200m in green bonds. This debt instrument whose funds are exclusively used to finance projects in renewable energy and waste management is aligned with the Green Bond Principles, and contributes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
CIFI’s success has been recognised over the years, most recently in July 2020 with the “Green Bond Pioneer Award” from Climate Bonds Initiative – an international organisation that works to mobilise resources from the capital markets to projects that combat climate change. The award was given in recognition of Panama’s first green bond issue, a transaction that marked a milestone in the region’s stock market activity. The “Green Bond Pioneer Award” is the leading international recognition of best practices and innovation in green finance.
Among other distinctions, the company has been recognised both for its ability to structure projects and for the management of its portfolio in the region.