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EX-IM BANK AND SOFIA TO COOPERATE IN FINANCING U.S. EXPORTS TO BUILD INFRASTRUCTURE IN BULGARIA

Visiting Ex-Im Bank Official Dan Renberg Signs Memorandum of Understanding

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 15, 2000

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) and the city of Sofia, Bulgaria, today agreed to cooperate in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to Sofia and other parts of Bulgaria to address vital infrastructure needs. Dan Renberg, a member of the Board of Directors of Ex-Im Bank, and Sofia Mayor Stefan Sofianski signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at Sofia City Hall.

The parties agreed to work together to identify transactions suitable for support on a risk- sharing basis by both Ex-Im Bank and the city of Sofia, in sectors such as transportation, agribusiness, energy and power, medicine, information technology, construction, environmentally beneficial projects, and education. The agreement is part of a new program under which Ex-Im Bank is willing to consider accepting credit of subsovereign governments whose foreign currency debts are not in default and are rated B/B2 or stronger by an accepted global credit rating agency. The list of eligible entities will change as credit ratings change.

This initiative will help the important emerging market city of Sofia strengthen its economy by addressing critical infrastructure needs, including transportation and environmental projects as well as expanding its access to cutting-edge information technology, Renberg said. He noted that Ex-Im Bank recently expanded its activity in Bulgaria to include long-term financing in the private sector. (Before this action, the Bank was open for short- and medium-term financing in the private sector, and for short-, medium-, and long-term financing in the public sector.)

Ex-Im Bank and Sofia may consider, on a case-by-case basis, a variety of risk-sharing arrangements, including: 1) the city of Sofia acting as a borrower in an Ex-Im Bank-supported financing and then on-lending the loan proceeds to a third party, 2) the city of Sofia guaranteeing an Ex-Im Bank-supported financing, 3) the city of Sofia providing other support to Ex-Im Bank short of a guarantee, such as taking security to enhance the creditworthiness of a project, and 4) the two parties participating, where appropriate, in long-term limited recourse project financing, where debt repayment comes from project revenues.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to emerging markets throughout the world by providing loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance. During fiscal year 2000, Ex-Im Bank supported $15.5 billion in U.S. exports.