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$6 MILLION EX-IM BANK CREDIT HELPS NORTH CAROLINA COMPANY COMPETE IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 2, 1997

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States is guaranteeing a $6 million revolving working capital loan which is enabling Starboard, Inc., a small Charlotte-based seafood packager and exporter, to gain a toehold in the European market traditionally dominated by Icelandic and Norwegian companies. Starboard's exports of salted and frozen cod products to Portugal and Spain are also sustaining jobs for 900 Alaskan fishermen and fish processors.

This sale demonstrates how Ex-Im Bank can work with a local lender on innovative finance that supports a U.S. exporter while helping to sustain jobs at subsuppliers around the country, said Ex-Im Bank President and Chairman James A. Harmon.

With an Ex-Im Bank guarantee, NationsBank, N.A., Charlotte, NC, could lend Starboard money using its Portugal-based assets as collateral. As an Ex-Im Bank Delegated Authority Lender, NationsBank can cut red tape and make local lending decisions quickly. The Ex-Im Bank guarantee allowed us to get comfortable lending on accounts receivables of Portuguese and Spanish companies, said Richard A. Robberts, senior vice president, NationsBank.

To meet the competition from Norwegian and Icelandic fisheries, we had to maintain our cod inventory in Portugal to sell immediately in the market rather than through advance orders, said Starboard President Ronald H. Wrenn. But we couldn't afford to hold the inventory and receivables in Portugal without borrowing money against it. Ex-Im Bank's guarantee enabled us to do this.

Starboard has expanded sales and preserved 900 Alaskan-based jobs in the off season from crab and pollock fishing in 1996 and 1997 -- up from about 750 jobs in 1995. Starboard's Portugal-based importing entity now buys cod from four major Alaskan suppliers and many small independent vessel owners in western Alaska that fish for cod in the Gulf of Alaska and the Berring Sea.

Since 1993, Ex-Im Bank supported $278.8 million in exports by 98 North Carolina companies in 48 communities. Annually the Bank supports about 200,000 jobs directly nationwide and another 1 million indirectly through subsuppliers.