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ST. PETERSBURG SCHOOLCHILDREN TO ENJOY BRIGHTER CLASSROOMS WITH LIGHTS EXPORTED TO RUSSIA FROM U.S. WITH EX-IM BANK FINANCING

First St. Petersburg Transaction Under Ex-Im Bank Sub-Sovereign Risk Program

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 27, 2002

Media Contact Name/Phone: 

Marianna Ohe 202-565-3206

Energy Smart, Inc., a small Buffalo, NY, company, is providing 362,000 energy-efficient fluorescent lighting fixtures totaling $18 million to modernize lighting in approximately 450 public high schools in St. Petersburg, Russia, backed by a long-term guarantee of over $15 million from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Suppliers on the export sale include Reflect-a-Light Inc., Palatka, FL; Cooper Lighting, Peachtree City, GA; Philips Lighting Co., Summerset, NJ, and Energy Innovations Corp., Cleveland, OH.

It is the first transaction by the city of St. Petersburg under Ex-Im Bank's sub-sovereign risk program announced in August, 2000. Under this program Ex-Im Bank will accept the credit of qualifying states, provinces and cities in emerging markets worldwide for purchase of U.S. equipment and services to address vital infrastructure and public sector needs.

We are delighted to support this transaction, which will enhance learning conditions for St. Petersburg students, said Ex-Im Bank Vice Chairman Eduardo Aguirre, Jr. We hope to finance more St. Petersburg purchases under our sub-sovereign program to help St. Petersburg strengthen its economy by building infrastructure, and also support U.S. exports and jobs.

St. Petersburg Governor Vladimir Yakovlev added: I strongly support this type of transaction which improves the long-term well-being of St. Petersburg children while developing business ties with the United States that benefit both of our countries.

Energy Smart President David P. Wiegand declared the transaction could not have gone forward without Ex-Im Bank support, and may offer potential for substantial follow-on business in several areas of energy conservation.

The Erie County Industrial Development Agency, Ex-Im Bank's City-State Partner for New York State, also was instrumental in bringing together Energy Smart and Ex-Im Bank.

The borrower and primary source of repayment on the transaction is the City of St. Petersburg. The guaranteed lender is HSBC Bank PLC, London, U.K.

Energy Smart, a provider of energy conservation services with a workforce of 15-20 employees, will replace the ceiling fluorescent fixtures and incandescent fixtures used in St. Petersburg public schools with state-of-the-art fluorescent fixtures with aluminum reflectors, electronic ballast and T-8 lamps. The T8 lamps and ballast specified in the contract use 38% less energy and offer 20% longer life than conventional lamps.

St. Petersburg became eligible in late 2000 for Ex-Im Bank's sub-sovereign program, which helps foreign borrowers who are supported by qualifying sub-sovereign governments to gain access to Ex-Im Bank financing. The financing can be used to buy, among other things, medical equipment, construction vehicles, information technology, and environmentally beneficial goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal government agency that helps finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets, by providing loans, guarantees and export credit insurance. In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support approximately $184 million of U.S. exports to Russia and $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.