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SIFEM’s priorities in its first year under public ownership lay in completing the various start-up tasks and assuming responsibility for the investment portfolio from SECO, the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs. Despite a difficult economic environment, SIFEM delivered satisfactory results in 2011.
While the income statement posted an operating loss of CHF 11.3 million, the bulk of this was actually in the form of a foreign exchange loss. The Internal Rate of Return (IRR) remained quite solid at 11%, just slightly below the long-term average, an indication that the investment portfolio is holding up well against the unfavourable markets. New investments accounted for CHF 52.3 million, which was higher than in previous years. Clearly, SIFEM is finding sufficient investment opportunities that satisfy its financial viability and development policy criteria.
The development impact sought with SIFEM’s investments is measured primarily in terms of jobs. Since 2005, its investment portfolio has contributed to the creation or retention of over 170,000 jobs. Meanwhile, SIFEM’s investments also help to promote financial sector diversification and resilience in the local markets and better operational management in its portfolio companies.
SIFEM is a limited company under private law held by the Swiss Confederation. Most of its investments take the form of venture capital in developing countries and emerging economies, giving SMEs there an opportunity to access long-term financing. SIFEM thus contributes to these companies’ sustainable growth and job creation as well as private sector development and poverty reduction in the target countries. A detailed account of SIFEM’s operations and financial statements can be found in its 2011 Annual Report, available for download at www.sifem.ch.