Project Furthers Africa's Participation In Information Revolution Mauritius To Become Main International Hub Between Asia and Mainland Africa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 9, 2000
Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200
Washington, D.C.: A $28 million Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) long-term guarantee will enable Tyco Submarine Systems Ltd., Morristown, NJ, to sell equipment and services to Mauritius Telecom Ltd. (MT), Port Louis, for construction of MT's portion of a submarine cable system linking Southern Africa and Southeast Asia. Ex-Im Bank, MT and HSBC Bank plc, London, the guaranteed lender, signed transaction agreements for the project today at a ceremony at Ex-Im Bank headquarters.
The South African Far East (SAFE) fiber optic cable system will start in Cape Town, South Africa and pass through Durban, South Africa; Mauritius; French-owned Reunion island; Cochin, India, and terminate in Penang, Malaysia. The integration of the SAFE cable with the SAT-3/WASC cable, which will run from Portugal via West Africa to Cape Town, will provide Mauritius with a route to Europe and North America. With soaring demand for multimedia and internet services between Europe and Asia, the cable will put Mauritius in a strategic position to provide bandwidth to these areas. It also will provide an alternative way to gain access to international telecommunications networks in areas where satellite links and earth stations are often affected by typhoons and other bad weather.
The development of telecommunications infrastructure in Africa represents one of the big growth sectors for US exporters, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon. Ex-Im Bank stands ready to help these companies participate in this important area and assist Africa in taking advantage of the information revolution that is taking place all over the world.
Ex-Im Bank's support enables Mauritius Telecom to access extremely competitive long-term financing for a project that will assist the development of Mauritius as a telecommunication hub and an offshore banking center, said Edward M. Bullen, HSBC Bank senior vice president, project & export finance. Ex-Im Bank's support for MT risk, without sovereign or bank guarantees, further distinguishes it as a proactive export credit agency.
MT, a government-owned domestic and international telecommunications operating company, will own 12% of the SAFE cable; Telkom Communications International, a private Mauritius company, will own 22%; France Telecom 20%; MCI International, Inc. 4%; Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd., a public sector Indian corporation, 22%; and Telekom Malaysia Berhad 20%.
Tyco Submarine Systems Ltd (TSSL), which will build the entire SAFE cable, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC; LSE: TYI; BSX: TYC). TSSL is one of the world's leading suppliers of undersea communications systems and services. Its fleet of cable ships installs and maintains undersea networks. TSSL has successfully completed 86 undersea networks comprised of more than 350,000 kilometers of undersea cable connecting over 100 countries.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent US government agency that helps finance the sale of US exports, primarily to developing markets throughout the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank helped to finance nearly $17 billion of US exports worldwide.