FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 30, 1997
Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200
WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) is guaranteeing a $6 million revolving working capital loan which is enabling Alaskan companies to sell their salted and frozen cod products to Portugal and Spain, a market traditionally dominated by Icelandic and Norwegian companies. The exports are sustaining jobs for 900 fishermen and fish processors who work the Gulf of Alaska and the Berring Sea.
These sales demonstrate how Ex-Im Bank's support of U.S. exporters can sustain jobs at subsuppliers around the country. These 'invisible exporters' are the foundation of U.S. export trade, said Ex-Im Bank President and Chairman James A. Harmon.
The main exporter in this transaction is Starboard, Inc., a small North Carolina seafood packager and exporter. Its Portugal-based importing entity buys cod from four major Alaskan suppliers -- Alyeska Seafoods, Inc. and Westward Seafoods, Inc. (Dutch Harbor, AK); Peter Pan Seafoods, Inc. (King Cove, AK); and Trident Seafoods, Inc. (Sand Point, Akutan and St. Paul in the Pribilof Islands) -- and many small independent vessel owners in western Alaska. The expanded sales helped to preserve 900 Alaska-based jobs in the off season from crab and pollock fishing in 1996 and 1997 -- up from about 750 jobs in 1995.
To meet the competition from Norwegian and Icelandic fisheries, Starboard needed to maintain its cod inventory in Portugal to sell immediately in the market rather than through advance orders. But the company could not afford to hold the inventory and receivables in Portugal without borrowing money against it. Ex-Im Bank's guarantee enabled NationsBank, N.A., Charlotte, NC, to lend Starboard money using Starboard's Portugal assets as collateral.
We hope that this type of creative financing will lead to more direct and indirect business with Alaskan companies, Harmon said.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent government agency that supports U.S. jobs by financing exports to new and emerging foreign markets. Annually the Bank supports about 200,000 jobs directly nationwide and another 1 million indirectly through subsuppliers.