THE Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) was planning an aggressive borrowing initiative to raise R40bn to support a disbursement programme worth R100bn in five years, chief financial officer Gert Gouws said yesterday.

This was in light of the IDC's central role in developing SA's industrial sectors and its commitment to the government's "new growth path" policy focus ing on employment creation and development of industry.

Mr Gouws said the IDC's balance sheet could take more strain and had the capacity to carry additional debt beyond its current nearly R4bn .

The corporation would "significantly" seek additional funding through debt finance from local and international sources, including lenders from China and India.

However, according to experts, even though the global economy had started to recover, the pace of growth was still slow and uncertain, and international lenders were not yet keen to experiment with depositors' funds.

"In order to support the New Growth Path and government's desire to revitalise the manufacturing base, the IDC will look at leveraging its strong balance sheet to drive implementation of the industrial policy action plan 2," said IDC CEO Geoffrey Qhena.

The corporation intended to disburse R12bn of that R100bn to component manufacturers, which Mr Qhena identified as a labour- absorbing activity. Most of this funding would be directed to start-up businesses and expansion .

Last year, the IDC assisted automotive component and commercial vehicle companies in distress because of the financial crisis.

Mr Qhena said R376m in funding approvals were made for car and transport equipment manufacturers, which saved 1500 jobs.

Mr Gouws said t he consideration was not necessarily the availability of funding, but more of costs, as the corporation always wanted to borrow and pass on the benefits to its clients.

kamhungas@bdfm.co.za