Coface Establishes Canadian Office

MONTREAL, Dec. 9, 2004 — Coface opened its new office today in Canada, signaling its intention to become a major player in the Canadian market for trade credit protection and management services. Coface has requested approval to establish a Canadian branch from the Minister of Canada’s Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI).

The office is being established to amplify and broaden Coface’s existing presence in Canada. Coface North America already operates indirectly in Canada, serving several hundred customers through independent sales agents in Toronto and Montreal. With the branch office, which will be located in Montreal, Coface will be able to issue credit insurance policies directly to companies in Canada.

The country manager for the Canada office is Bernard Labadie, Senior Vice President Canada, Coface North America. “My roots are in Canada and I am honored to be involved with the growth of Coface in this dynamic market. Our objective is to develop into an active national player in the country, serving Canadian companies and banks on both domestic and export business,” said Mr. Labadie.

“This is exciting news,” said Michael Ferrante, President of Coface North America, Inc., “While we have been underwriting Canadian business risk for some time now, we are ready to produce this new business in Canada directly by Coface. I have every confidence that the branch will enhance Coface’s position in the Canadian market for credit management protection and services.”

Coface S.A. expects its Canadian Branch to be fully operational in 2005.

As stated by Jerome Cazes, Managing Director of Coface S.A., “The Canadian Branch is the result of our strategic decision to intensify our commitment in Canada. Not only will the branch strengthen the position of Coface in the region, it will also allow for companies in Canada to now have improved access to our global expertise.”

Coface press releases, publications and financial information are available on the Internet at

About Coface

Founded in 1946, Coface is a subsidiary of Natexis Banques Populaires and of Groupe Banque Populaire, whose Tier 1 capital amounted to 12.2 billion euros at 31 December 2003. Coface facilitates business-to-business commerce worldwide. It offers all size companies an array of solutions to manage, finance, and protect their accounts receivable, affording them the option of fully or partly outsourcing trade relationship management and attendant risks. Coface serves 85,000 clients with staff of over 4,600 organized in every country around integrated sales forces and four core businesses: credit insurance, company information and rating, receivables management, factoring and receivables securitization. Coface also continues to develop three complementary business lines: guarantee insurance, receivables and related risk management training and, in France, management of government export guarantees. Coface has a direct presence in 57 countries and operates in 93 countries via its partners in the CreditAlliance worldwide network, structured around an integrated credit risk management system — the Common Risk System.

Coface is rated AA by Fitch Ratings and Aa3 by Moody’s.