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EX-IM BANK FINANCES $250 MILLION IN U.S. EXPORTS TO BUILD CROATIAN HIGHWAY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 21, 1998

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

The Board of Directors of the Export Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved a long-term guarantee enabling Bechtel International, Inc., San Francisco, CA, to provide $250 million of procurement, construction and project management services to build a 120-kilometer four-lane highway in Croatia. The road will extend from Bregana at Croatia`s northern border with Slovenia through Zagreb and Sisak to the Bosnia-Herzegovina border.

Ex-Im Bank`s guarantee of a loan by Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, NY, enabled Bechtel to win the Croatian Roads Authority contract over several European and local competitors. Bechtel will buy U.S. equipment to build the highway.

This project will help rebuild Croatia`s infrastructure, and is an important first step toward providing a vital artery between Bosnia-Herzegovina and its neighbors and a link between Central and Western Europe and South-Eastern Europe, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon.

Sy Taubenblatt, Bechtel Enterprises` senior executive representative, said the Ex-Im Bank loan guarantee was critical to Bechtel winning this important motorway project which will contribute significantly to Croatia`s growth and economic development.

The highway project follows the 1996 signing of a trilateral Memorandum of Understanding among the United States, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina addressing infrastructure restoration needs stemming from the war damage of 1990-1995. Croatia has only 27,400 kilometers of roads including 287 kilometers of divided highways.

The highway project is the second major Ex-Im Bank infrastructure financing in Croatia. Last April Ex-Im Bank authorized financing for the export of U.S. equipment and engineering services to rehabilitate the Te-To Zagreb power plant in Zagreb.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent U.S. government agency that assists in financing the export of U.S. goods and services to industrializing and developing markets all over the world by providing loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 1998, Ex-Im Bank supported $12.8 billion of U.S. exports.