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EX-IM BANK BACKS $1.2 MILLION TELECOMMUNICATIONS EXPORT TO NIGERIA

California Company's Sale Helps Improve Nigerian Telephone Service

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 19, 2003

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Andrew Yarrow (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved a $992,451 medium-term guarantee to support the $1.2 million export of telecommunications equipment to Nigeria by ViaSat Inc. of Carlsbad, Calif. Founded in 1986, the rapidly growing high-technology company specializing in digital, wireless communications now employs more than 700 people.

Ex-Im Bank views Nigeria as a significant and promising market, and our support is part and parcel of a larger U.S. government commitment to Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa, said Ex-Im Bank board member Joe Grandmaison, who just returned from Nigeria and several other African nations on a two-week trade mission. Since Ex-Im Bank reopened in Nigeria in 1999, we have backed some 50 transactions, big and small, worth nearly a quarter billion dollars.

The buyer, Marina International Bank Limited of Lagos, Nigeria, is purchasing the equipment on behalf of its borrower, Sub-Urban Telecoms Limited of Abuja, Nigeria, which in turn is leasing the equipment to MTN Nigeria Communications Limited. The guaranteed lender is First International Bank of Hartford, Conn.

This sale, using Ex-Im Bank financing, was a major milestone for ViaSat, said Tony Wilkey, director of business development for ViaSat. We provided three turnkey satellite earth stations in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Jos for our customer, which enabled one of the primary, local mobile service providers to greatly enhance local wireless phone capabilities.

Other recent Ex-Im Bank-financed exports to Nigeria have ranged from solar-powered billboards and printing equipment to construction equipment for the Kampe River irrigation project and equipment to expand Nigeria's liquid natural gas production.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing guarantees, insurance, and loans. In fiscal year 2002, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $13 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.