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Ex-Im Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg Announces Plans in Support of South African Infrastructure Development

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 9, 2010

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Phil Cogan - 01-202-745-1676 (mobile in S. Africa week of November 8-12), 01-202-565-3203 (office)

JOHANNESBURG - Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg is in South Africa to announce first steps in the approval of financing for U.S. exports to key South African projects, including:

  • Ex-Im Bank's first-stage approval of support for the sale of locomotives to Transnet, a large South African rail, port and pipeline company majority-owned by the government
  • The Bank's initial carbon review of Eskom's Kusile coal-fired power plant. Eskom is South Africa's national electric utility.

South Africa is a dynamic economy with a growing appetite for infrastructure development, Hochberg said during his Nov. 9-11 trade mission to South Africa. That's why it has been designated by Ex-Im as one of nine countries where we aim to increase transactions. American companies and competitive Ex-Im Bank financing are available to meet South Africa's infrastructure needs and to support other purchases by small and mid-size businesses.

In addition to meeting with South African government and business leaders, Hochberg is signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Export Credit Insurance Corporation (ECIC), South Africa's official export credit agency. Under the agreement, the two agencies will exchange information on trade and business prospects in order to identify opportunities for cooperation, including co-financing opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa.

Hochberg announced that, after an initial review of the Kusile power plant project under Ex-Im Bank's enhanced due diligence process for high carbon intensity facilities, the Bank's board of directors has decided to proceed with a full financial, technical and environmental review of the project.

After the full review, the transaction to finance the sale of engineering services to Eskom by Black & Veatch of Overland Park, Kansas, will return to the Board for final action. The Kusile project has environmentally beneficial features including water conservation technology, a highly efficient boiler, pollution abatement technology, and carbon-capture-ready status.

By working together, we can help South Africa ramp up its energy production and infrastructure needs to meet the increased demand of its citizens, Hochberg said. We have the know-how to help them in migrating that energy generation toward cleaner, more renewable sectors going forward.

Hochberg also announced Ex-Im Bank's first-stage approval of financing for the export of General Electric locomotives to Transnet, pending Congressional notification of the Bank's intent to approve the transaction.

In addition, Ex-Im Bank recently gave final approval for $7 million in financing to support the sale of five new Caterpillar off-highway trucks and one new tractor to Eqstra Holdings Ltd., a diversified leasing, industrial, construction and mining equipment importer and distributor. Eqstra subsidiary MCC Contracts (Pty) Ltd. will use the equipment.

Hochberg delivered remarks today at a breakfast meeting with the American Chamber of Commerce. During his stay he is meeting with a wide range of private and public sector leaders including representatives of South Africa's Department of Public Enterprises, commercial banks, and private companies including Eqstra, Transnet and Comair.

Ex-Im Bank, an independent, self-sustaining federal agency, helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in export financing and strengthening U.S. export competitiveness. Overall during the fiscal year, Ex-Im Bank authorized a record high of approximately $24.5 billion in loans, guarantees and insurance, including more than $5 billion in authorizations for small businesses. More information about Ex-Im Bank is available at www.exim.gov.