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PRESS RELEASE January 11, 2001

World Bank to Use New Technology to Speed Transactions: Linklaters & Alliance's BLUE FLAG® World Bank will Provide Electronic System for Bank's Bond Document Creation Process

Washington DC, January 11, 2001 - International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, also known as the World Bank, today announced plans to use BLUE FLAG® World Bank, a unique on-line documentation and transaction management system developed and operated by the law firm Linklaters & Alliance.

The World Bank is today the world's largest source of development assistance and last year alone provided US$15.3bn in loans. BLUE FLAG® World Bank will assist use of the World Bank's Global Debt Issuance Facility (GDIF), the platform under which the World Bank issues virtually all of its bonds into international and domestic markets. In 1999, the World Bank issued approximately 150 bonds under the GDIF and in 2000 nearly 200.

The World Bank has worked closely with Linklaters & Alliance's BLUE FLAG® team to develop the new streamlined system that will simplify this process. The BLUE FLAG® system allows the World Bank and the investment banks underwriting its bonds to document them on-line and in real-time, considerably reducing the time required.

The key benefits of BLUE FLAG® World Bank include:

  • Consistency - through use of up-to-date precedents, the completion of a standard on-line input questionnaire and the inclusion of text which accurately reflects the data input
  • Speed - initial drafting and distribution takes less than 30 minutes, allowing the transaction timetable to be accelerated from weeks to days
  • Quality - extensive familiarity with the different types of deals which can be executed
  • Constant availability - available 24 hours a day/seven days a week
  • Security - best IT practices ensure secure access over the internet
  • Cost - fixed rate fee ensures certainty of cost to investment bank dealers

Previously, each issue had to be documented separately with modifications made to existing pro forma documentation making the process more time consuming. Under the new system, BLUE FLAG® World Bank, the bond documentation is drafted automatically, reflecting the legal and economic terms of the transaction contained in the on-line input questionnaire. Once drafted, documents are distributed automatically, and can be accessed, reviewed and commented upon on-line 24 hours a day by the parties involved. The system also acts as an easily accessed repository for all documentation generated through the process.

BLUE FLAG® World Bank is also expected to yield cost savings for the World Bank, both in terms of the price of each transaction and the time saved by World Bank lawyers in reviewing documentation.

Cliff Frazier, Legal Counsel primarily responsible for the Global Debt Issuance Facility within the World Bank, said: "We have worked extensively with Linklaters to develop this system and believe that it will revolutionise the way medium-term notes are documented by bringing speed, efficiency, consistent quality and value to us and investment banks."

Caird Forbes-Cockell, Americas Managing Partner for Linklaters, added: "We are pleased to be launching this new service for the World Bank. BLUE FLAG® allows us the flexibility to develop this kind of application, and we are delighted that such a prestigious client as the World Bank is so willing to put a great deal of time and effort into its development. We are continuing to develop other on-line products for our clients based on the principles and system we have created for the World Bank."