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Popeye's and Burger King Franchises Expand in Trinidad & Tobago with U.S. Restaurant Equipment Exports Backed by Ex-Im Bank

Will Sustain Jobs in Tennessee, California and Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 24, 2008

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe (202-565-3200)

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Would you like fries with your insurance policy from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank)? While that question hasn't actually been asked, a Jamaica-based fast food franchise operator will be asking its customers a similar question, thanks to export credit insurance that is being provided by the Ex-Im Bank.

Restaurant Associates, Ltd., of Kingston, Jamaica, is buying restaurant equipment from U.S. suppliers to open five new Burger King and Popeye's restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago, backed by an Ex-Im Bank-insured $992,240 loan from SunTrust Banks, Inc., of Atlanta, Ga.

Franke Resupply Systems, Inc., La Vergne, Tenn.; Charter House Innovations, Holland, Mich.; and Nieco Corp., Windsor, Calif. will furnish equipment for the new restaurants. The franchise operator already has 36 fast-food restaurants in Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.

Franchising of U.S. fast-food restaurants represents a growing business opportunity in Latin America, said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President James H. Lambright. Ex-Im Bank is helping to finance not only the equipment purchases by Restaurant Associates, but also its franchise fees. We have done franchise financing before in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean, and look forward to supporting such transactions in the future.

Lambright noted that the export sale will help sustain and create jobs in Tennessee, California and Michigan while enabling a Jamaican entrepreneur to expand the economies of Jamaica, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago.

Charter House Innovations is pleased to partner with Ex-Im Bank and Restaurant Associates of Jamaica, said Charter House Innovations President Charles S. Reid. This collaboration has broadened CHI's sales borders and has helped create U.S jobs.

We will be growing our business by 15 percent with the help of this Ex-Im Bank-supported transaction, said Restaurant Associates Executive Director Frank Ventura. We've worked with Ex-Im Bank before, and once U.S. suppliers know that Ex-Im Bank is involved, they are very comfortable working with us. Ex-Im Bank's low interest rates also assist us with cash flow.

Ex-Im Bank is the official export-credit agency of the United States. The independent, self-sustaining federal agency, now in its 74th year, helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by financing the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets throughout the world, by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct loans. In fiscal year 2007, Ex-Im Bank authorized $12.6 billion in financing to support an estimated $16 billion of U.S. exports worldwide. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.