Index for March 2015

Volume 14, Issue 3

  • (Guardian, London, 20 March 2015) The UK government provided hundreds of millions of pounds worth of support for a controversial energy project in Brazil that is now at the centre of a sprawling corruption scandal engulfing the country’s political and business elite. Hundreds of contracts for energy projects, from refineries to oil rigs, have been implicated in the scandal which has seen executives at Brazil’s state-owned oil company Petrobras and many of its contractors charged in connection with alleged bribery and money-laundering. ECA Watch member Both Ends drew attention to Dutch bribes paid to Petrobras in December 2014.

  • (FBI, Washington, 16 March 2015) United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that on February 20, 2015, a federal grand jury in New Haven returned a 23-count indictment charging 3 individuals with conspiracy, fraud and money laundering offenses related to a multi-million-dollar scheme to defraud banks participating in a US Department of Agriculture backed export financing program. The indictment alleges that the three defendants engaged in a conspiracy to defraud U.S. financial institutions that secured loans to Russian Banks based on altered documents. The loans were backed by an export credit guarantee program run by the USDA, and when the loans went into default and were subsequently not paid back, the USDA lost millions of dollars.

  • (Huffington Post, 13 March 2015) As the 34 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) met in Paris last week, Oil Change International released a new report with a shocking revelation. Not only has export credit agency (ECA) financing for coal by OECD countries increased, these ECAs financed nearly one-quarter of all new coal development outside of China between 2005 and 2012.

  • (Reuters, Brussels, 30 March 2015) Rich nations provided around five times as much in export subsidies for fossil-fuel technology as for renewable energy over a decade, according to OECD data seen by Reuters. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) figures on export credits are central to a debate on targeting funding ahead of U.N. climate talks in Paris at the end of the year. Just when the European Union is leading the push for a new global deal on curbing emissions and is phasing out domestic coal subsidies, the documents underline the scale of the developed world's investment in exporting technology for the most polluting fossil fuel.

  • (Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney, 26 March 2015) The Abbott government has again put itself on a collision course with US President Barack Obama, this time over government funding for coal-fired power plants. After adopting a contrary position to the US on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, about which a final decision is expected within days, the Abbott government has been leading international resistance to White House moves to strip back subsidies for fossil fuels. A leaked briefing paper, obtained by Fairfax Media, shows the government is using an international forum to frustrate efforts by the US, the United Kingdom and France to wind back export subsidies for new but environmentally harmful coal stations in third world countries. At OECD talks this month, Australian officials were instructed to oppose moves within the OECD's export credit group to curb government financial assistance for coal plants.

  • (Reuters, Washington, 19 March 2015) A bipartisan plan to save the U.S. Export-Import Bank seeks to extend the bank's term until 2019, increase lending to small businesses and overturn limits on coal-fired power plants projects, according to documents released on Thursday.

  • (Emirates 24/7 Business and Reuters, Dubai, 12 March 2015) Emirates  airline has hired eight banks to arrange an Islamic bond that will be guaranteed by Britain's export credit agency, a document from lead arrangers showed on Thursday. The deal assumes significance as this is the first time the export credit agency has guaranteed a sukuk, as Islamic bonds are known. London is seeking to boost its position as a centre for Islamic finance.

  • (Financial Post, Johannesburg, 2 March 2015) Export Development Canada is providing South Africa’s national rail operator with a US$450-million loan to finance a major purchase of rail equipment from Quebec-based Bombardier. The rail operator, Transnet SOC Ltd., recently awarded a US$1.2-billion contract to Bombardier Transportation South Africa Ltd. for the delivery of 240 TRAXX dual-voltage locomotives. The Export-Import Bank of the U.S. will also guarantee US$500 million in loans provided by Barclays Africa Group Ltd., Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Old Mutual Plc for the manufacture of 293 locomotives by GE.

  • (Mercopress, Montevideo, 6 March 2015) The UK and Mexico have signed a memorandum to further support trade and markets, and advance cooperation between the two countries export promotion organizations, UK Export Finance and Bancomext, Mexican Trade Development Bank. Should Bancomext join UKEF’s existing panel of 20 financial organizations approved to partner the UK’s export credit agency in delivering its Direct Lending Facility (DLF), UK exporters to Mexico could benefit from a £3 billion direct source of credit for the Mexican marketplace. The £3 billion facility is designed to help overseas buyers purchase goods and services from UK exporters.

  • (the Financial, Tbilisi, 19 March 2015) The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Export-Import Bank of Taiwan (Eximbank) agreed on March 19 to boost their cooperation and co-finance projects in regions where the EBRD invests. According to the MoU, the two organisations will explore opportunities to work together in sectors such as power and renewable energy, natural resources, transport, infrastructure, telecommunications and information technology. Established in 1979 to facilitate Taiwanese export and import trade, Eximbank is a publicly-owned bank. The EBRD, an international financial institution owned by 64 countries, the European Union and the European Investment Bank, invests in more than 30 countries.

  • (Belarusian News,Minsk, 20 March 2015) The Belarusian government will hold talks with Ak BARS Bank, the Moscow Industrial Bank, and Bank VTB 24 on disbursement of loans for the acquisition of Belarusian goods in Russia. Draft agreements were approved by the Council of Ministers and published on the National Legal Internet Portal on 20 March. It has also been reported that the export credit agreement will be signed with Sberbank of Russia.

  • (Financial Express, Dhaka, 28 March 2015) Ten foreign companies have expressed their interest in funding constrluction of Paira port, the country's third sea port in Patuakhali district, officials said. Of the 10 proposals, 9 came from China and one from Denmark. Officials said the Chinese companies in their proposals stated that they would arrange 'buyers' credit' to fund construction of the port. Expressing interest to sign a MoU with the shipping ministry, Denmark's APM Terminals said it has already obtained initial support from the Danish government to participate in the project construction. It will arrange funding from the Danish government-linked funding institutions like EKF (Danish Export Credit Agency), and IFU (Investment Fund for Developing Countries).

  • (SACE, Rome, 23 March 2015) Bernardo Attolico has been appointed the head of the Debt Capital Markets division of SACE, created within the Business area to develop services dedicated to companies active in the capital markets. Attolico will oversee the origination and structuring of debt capital market transactions and coordinate the operation of the Sviluppo Export Fund, the new SACE initiative to support the exports and internationalization of Italian companies by opening the national market to new sources of medium/long-term financing beyond the banking channel.