FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE August 8, 1999
Andrew Yarrow (202) 565-3200
WASHINGTON — The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is guaranteeing a $54 million loan to support a contract for five U.S. companies in Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida, and California to build an automotive battery plant in Uzbekistan.
American Technology Group (ATG) of Miami will provide the construction services, and Exide Corporation of Reading, PA, will be the principal supplier. Uz-Exide of Uzbekistan, a joint venture, will operate the factory. It will manufacture up to 1 million lead acid auto batteries per year and recycle approximately 8,000 tons of lead scrap from old batteries. The plant, which is scheduled to be operational in two years, will produce batteries for domestic consumption and export to such markets as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Turkey.
David Freedman, vice president of Exide AB Group Ltd., part of the Uz-Exide joint venture, said: American opportunities are alive and flourishing with the support of Ex-Im Bank, which has provided a guarantee for a world-class battery production and recycling facility to be used for the automobile, truck and agricultural industry in Uzbekistan. Without the professionalism, responsiveness and support of Ex-Im Bank, America's opportunity to supply the necessary technology and equipment would have been lost to foreign competition.
ATG is a 16-year-old firm with 25 employees in its Florida office, with additional overseas offices. Exide, a manufacturer of lead acid storage batteries, had sales of $2.3 billion in the year ending March 31, 1998. Other suppliers are Linklater Corporation of Fountain Valley, CA; Oxmaster Inc. of Austrell, GA, and Wirtz Manufacturing Company of Port Huron, MI.
Small business accounts for 75 percent of the transaction. The guaranteed lender is the Bank of New York.
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 loans, guarantees, and insurance. Ex-Im Bank supported approximately $13 billion in exports in the 1998 fiscal year.