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Andrew Yarrow (202) 565-3200

A company in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez will be able to begin recycling used tires in a custom-designed recycling facility being built with the assistance of financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Sorbilite, Inc., a recycling technology firm based in Virginia Beach, VA, is selling $2.35 million in recycling equipment and services to Refaccionaria Valati, S.A. de C.V., a gas distributor which also runs a tire retreading center in Ciudad Juarez.

Under the enhanced terms of its Environmental Export Program, Ex-Im Bank is providing a $2.07 million insurance policy to support a seven-year loan by Wells Fargo Bank of El Paso, TX, to Refaccionaria Valati. The plant, which is expected to go online in September, will convert about 4,000 tons a year of used tires from the Ciudad Juarez area into rubber floor mats and molding. Used tires are a significant environmental problem throughout the world because they fill landfills and cause serious fires, which in turn provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

This deal would not have been closed without Ex-Im Bank support, said Brigitte Pohl, vice president of Sorbilite. Since what we do is fairly unique in the world, Ex-Im Bank is very helpful. Sorbilite has annual sales of approximately $7-10 million and about 25 employees. Exports account for 80 percent of its sales. Ex-Im Bank had supported Sorbilite's export of a wood-fiber recycling facility to Sri Lanka several years ago.

I am pleased that Ex-Im Bank has another opportunity to work with a bank in the El Paso region, particularly on an environmentally beneficial tire recycling project, said Dan Renberg, a director of Ex-Im Bank. As I saw during my May visit to El Paso, companies there, as well as in Virginia Beach, are well-positioned to use Ex-Im Bank financing to globalize their businesses.

During the last five years, Ex-Im Bank has helped 89 companies in 40 communities — including Sorbilite and two other Virginia Beach companies — export nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars of goods and services. During the same period, the Bank has helped 927 Texas companies in126 communities — including 36 El Paso companies — export $5.1 billion of goods and services, sustaining an estimated 74,639 jobs. In one recent example, Ex-Im Bank medium-term insurance enabled Demag Corporation, Rexcel Coatings Corporation, and IWS Inc., all of El Paso, to sell $3.3 million of conveyors, molding accessories and other equipment to a buyer in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua.

Mexico historically has been one of Ex-Im Bank's largest markets. Ex-Im Bank authorized about $3.3 billion in financing for U.S. exports to Mexico over the last two years, and has $4.9 billion in outstanding short-, medium-, and long-term credit for the country's private and public sectors.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent US government agency that helps finance the sale of US exports primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loans, guarantees, and insurance. During fiscal year 1999, Ex-Im Bank supported nearly $17 billion in US exports.