Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG
OeKB acts as Austria's Export Credit Agency on behalf the Austrian government and specifically the Federal Ministry of Finance. It is part of the larger OeKB group which acts both as a public and a private export insurer and financial institution. Within this group is also the Austrian development bank OeEB, a fully-owned subsidiary of OeKB. Its shareholders are Austrian commercial banks.
As an ECA OeKB supports corporations financially in their export business and protects the business activities of Austrian companies abroad by means of export guarantees, investment guarantees and loan guarantees.The legal basis for this protection are the two Austrian export promotion lawswhich authorize the federal ministry of finance to support exports and direct investment in foreign countries. The text of these laws gives clear preference to strengthening the Austrian export trade over coherence with the goals of international cooperation (as is for example described in the Austrian development cooperation law).
Even though OeKB screens against environmental and to a certain degree human rights issues in export projects, it has in the past been involved in a whole array of dodgy deals. Big parts of the larger projects OeKB guarantees for are in the sectors of hydroelectric power plants, pulp and paper industry and steel industry. Also, the majority of guarantee and loan volume goes to only a handful companies.
Dodgy deals associated with OeKB
OeKB originally agreed to provide export credit guaranteers for the Ilisu dam in Turkey. It officially withdrew this support in 2009 following extensive exposure of human rights and environmental flaws in the plans, which ECA Watch Austria, CounterCurrent and the Berne Declaration were instrumental in highlighting.
Lists of potentially environmentally harmful projects and projects over €10million (with a guarantee period of more than two years) can be found here.