FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 16, 1999
Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200
Air Namibia, Namibia's government-owned national flag carrier, is expanding its passenger and cargo transport capacity in Africa and Europe with the $114 million acquisition of a 747-400 Combi aircraft from The Boeing Co., Seattle, WA. This sale is backed by a long-term loan guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). It is the first major transaction in Namibia in Ex-Im Bank's history.
Ex-Im Bank is guaranteeing a $99 million loan by Citibank NA, London. The transaction will be guaranteed by the Government of Namibia and structured as a 12-year full payout finance lease with the aircraft also serving as collateral.
The authorization follows the first visit to southern Africa by an Ex-Im Bank Chairman in 1998, during which Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon met with Air Namibia officials.
This support can have an important impact on Namibian economic growth and infrastructure development while sustaining US jobs, Harmon said. We hope this transaction opens the door for more Ex-Im Bank activity in Namibia, and reflects our commitment to do more business in southern Africa.
Air Namibia, based in Windhoek, Namibia, currently has a fleet of five aircraft and has positioned itself as a niche carrier serving the domestic market, seven cities in the southern Africa region, and Europe through Frankfurt and London. The new Boeing aircraft's multi-role capacity makes it a natural fit for the airline, which expects to use the 747-400 Combi to transport passengers and to ship cargo such as fish to European markets. Namibia exports more than 350 metric tons of fish per week to Europe.
Ex-Im Bank has financed more than $1 billion of U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa over the past five years. In fiscal year 1999 alone, financing for the region has increased tenfold over the previous year. Ex-Im Bank is open to consider business under its regular programs and its Africa Pilot Program in 32 sub-Saharan African countries, and will consider project finance transactions in 47 sub-Saharan African countries.
Ex-Im Bank is an independent US government agency that assists in financing the export of US goods and services to industrializing and developing markets all over the world by providing loans, loan guarantees, and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank expects to support $15 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.