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Georgia: Borjomi Mineral Water To Flow Again

Washington, 13 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to make its first investment in Georgia, buying a $2.9 million stake in a joint venture which is reviving production of Georgia's Borjomi mineral water.

The IFC, the World Bank affiliate dealing with the private sector, says its purchase of equity of the Georgian Glass and Mineral Water Company will help the Georgian-French-Dutch owned enterprise to modernize and upgrade an existing glass bottle manufacturing plant and two existing mineral water bottling facilities.

Borjomi Valley mineral water is considered one of Georgia's most valuable renewable resources and was once the most popular in the Soviet Union. However, civil unrest in Georgia following the breakup of the USSR cut distribution to zero from more than 300 million half-liters annually in the 1980's.

The joint venture has only recently renewed operations and, with additional financing from shareholders and loans from regional investment funds, expects to resume sales throughout the CIS.