FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 15, 2009
Linda Formella (202) 565-3200
Employees at Applied Materials Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif., examine the company's equipment used to make thin-film solar panels. Ex-Im Bank is providing a euro-denominated loan guarantee supporting $14.4 million in exports of solar-cell manufacturing tools and equipment by Applied Materials to Signet Solar LLC of Dresden, Germany. The exports were used to construct Signet Solar's manufacturing facility that produces amorphous thin-film silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules for use in various applications by the company's customers in Germany, Italy and Spain.
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved an €11 million loan guarantee to support the financing of $14 million in exports of solar-cell manufacturing tools and equipment by Applied Materials Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., to Signet Solar LLC of Dresden, Germany. The Ex-Im Bank financing in U.S. dollars is $14.4 million under current exchange rates.
Ex-Im Bank is providing a five-year facility guaranteeing a limited-recourse loan denominated in euros to Signet Solar LLC from the Bank of America in San Francisco, Calif. Ex-Im Bank's five-year loan guarantee is also supporting $5.2 million in local costs for installation and construction that were financed under the loan.
The Applied Materials exports were used to design and construct the Signet Solar Project, a manufacturing facility in Dresden that was completed in late 2008 and produces amorphous thin-film silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules. The PV modules are used in end applications of Signet Solar's customers in Germany, Italy and Spain.
Ex-Im Bank is pleased to assist in financing these exports by Applied Materials Inc. to Germany, one of the world's largest markets for solar-energy products. We want to help U.S. exporters in the solar industry take advantage of the opportunities in this market to sustain high-quality jobs in California and other states that are home to these innovative companies, said Ex-Im Bank Vice Chair Linda Conlin, the chief advocate of Ex-Im Bank's Environmental Exports Program on the Bank's board of directors.
This support from Ex-Im Bank comes at a time when the United States is looking to spur economic growth through the expansion of green-technology jobs like the ones in our solar business, said George Davis, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Applied Materials. Now more than ever, we need to look for export opportunities that expand the market for solar and green technology, and Ex-Im Bank is a valuable partner for American business.
Limited-recourse project finance is an arrangement in which Ex-Im Bank assists in lending to newly created project companies and looks to the project's future cash flows as the source of repayment instead of relying directly on foreign governments, financial institutions or established corporations. Signet Solar LLC, the project sponsor, was founded in 2006 to design and manufacture low-cost thin-film silicon PV modules for large-area applications.
Applied Materials Inc. is the global leader in Nanomanufacturing Technology solutions with a broad portfolio of equipment, service and software products for the fabrication of semiconductor chips, flat panel displays, solar PV cells, flexible electronics and energy-efficient glass. Applied Materials employs more than 6,000 workers in the United States.
Ex-Im Bank's Environmental Exports Program offers capitalized interest during construction and automatic availability of up to 30 percent of local-cost financing. Exports to be used in renewable-energy and water projects are eligible for financing on repayment terms of up to 15 years under an agreement of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that permits OECD export-credit agencies such as Ex-Im Bank to offer these longer repayment terms for exports to these projects.
Ex-Im Bank created its Office of Renewable Energy and Environmental Exports in 2007 to conduct proactive outreach to U.S. exporters of renewable-energy technologies and other environmentally beneficial goods and services. The Bank's Environmental Exports Program has supported more than $3 billion of U.S. environmentally beneficial exports since its inception in 1994.
In fiscal year 2008, Ex-Im Bank authorized a total of $14.4 billion in financing to support an estimated $19.6 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. The Bank authorized $227 million, including more than $30 million for renewable-energy exports, to support an estimated $434 million of U.S. exports of environmentally beneficial goods and services.
Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent, self-sustaining federal agency, now in its 75th year, helps to create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.