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EX-IM BANK SUPPORTS U.S. EXPORTS TO RUSSIAN DIAMOND PRODUCER

Loan Guarantee is Fourth Ex-Im Bank Financing of U.S. Sales to Alrosa Company Ltd.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 7, 2001

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Linda Formella (202) 565-3200

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) will provide a $91.5 million comprehensive loan guarantee to support sales of U.S. mine processing equipment and services by Bateman Engineering Inc. of Denver, Colo., to a Russian mining company, Alrosa Company Ltd., for the Nyurba mine project in Siberia. U.S. exports to the project include a diesel power plant from Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria, Ill. This project finance transaction is the fourth Ex-Im Bank financing under a memorandum of understanding signed in May 1998 by Ex-Im Bank, Alrosa Company Ltd. and Lazare Kaplan International, the New York diamond trading company. Repayment of the loan from Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A., in New York, N.Y., will come from accounts receivable from diamond sales that will be held in an escrow account.

Ex-Im Bank is pleased to be able to finance U.S. exports to the increasingly important market of Russia. The Russian economy is experiencing significant economic growth from increased exports and growth in demand for domestically produced products, and we anticipate growth in our financing to Russian buyers through appropriate structures such as our agreement with Alrosa, Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon said.

Located in eastern Siberia, Alrosa Company Ltd. is the world's second largest supplier of rough diamonds and is the only producer in Russia that cuts and polishes the diamonds that it mines. In this project, the company is developing a diamond deposit and ore processing facility at the Nyurba mine site in a remote part of Siberia, 170 kilometers from the Arctic Circle. The exporter, Bateman Engineering Inc., is a South African company with U.S. operations in Denver.

Previous Ex-Im Bank transactions supporting U.S. exports to Alrosa Company Ltd. include a $62.3 million guarantee approved in 1996 and two medium-term transactions totaling $14.9 million approved in 2000.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal government agency that helps to sustain U.S. jobs by assisting in the financing of U.S. exports primarily to developing markets through loans, loan guarantees and export credit insurance. In FY 2000, Ex-Im Bank helped to finance $15.5 billion of U.S. exports to markets worldwide.