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JB's weekly round-up - 20 January 2014

The Global Annual Meeting – Europe of BAFT-IFSA takes place today and tomorrow at the Landmark Hotel in London. The conference and gathering has a high-level collection of delegates, primarily from the banking sector, discussing a range of key issues from innovation in transaction banking, regulatory impacts, sustainability, right through to commodity financing.
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Welcome to the weekly round-up of the TXF news service

That was the week that was………

BAFT-IFSA rolls into town
The Global Annual Meeting – Europe of BAFT-IFSA takes place today and tomorrow at the Landmark Hotel in London. The conference and gathering has a high-level collection of delegates, primarily from the banking sector, discussing a range of key issues from innovation in transaction banking, regulatory impacts, sustainability, right through to commodity financing. Hope to see you there, if not we should have a short report on the event later this week. 
  
Experienced hands to the fore
Thankfully the trade finance sector is particularly well dressed with experienced personnel keen to be involved in the industry in a variety of ways even after a lifetime of involvement in many institutions. Last week former Atradius MD and president of the Berne Union, Johan Schrijver, announced he was setting up a new consultancy – Schrijver & Partners – to advise businesses and government institutions on export and project finance, and credit insurance (TXF News 15 January 2014).
 
Elsewhere, Jim Liddell, former vice-president of trade finance at Scotiabank, has been hired by Singapore-based United Overseas Bank, as its senior VP for corporate banking (TXF News 16 January 2014). Jim will be developing the bank’s trade flows between South-East Asia and North America out of the Toronto office.
 
In other appointments, Henri d’Ambrieres, the former global head of export finance at Credit Agricole, has taken up a formal role within the ICC as a technical expert advising on the export finance part of its trade finance loss register (TXF News 17 January 2014).
 
And in another move I forgot to mention in last week’s weekly news, Craig Weeks, formerly MD global transaction services at Citi and MD global trade services at JP Morgan, has joined Geneva-based trade insurance brokerage International Risks Insurance Advisers (IRIA) to head-up their North American office (TXF News 10 January 2014). Craig tells TXF he has never found work more enjoyable.
 
The trade finance sector is much the richer and better off with such experienced hands still taking an active part in the sector and putting their many years of experience to good use.

Vietnamese agri-sector gets a boost 
Trade finance within the Vietnamese agri-sector received a fillip last week with a $70 million trade facility for An Giang Plant Protection arranged by Standard Chartered. The loan, to be used for rice production development, is split between a one-year and a five-year tranche (TXF News 17 January 2014). In general, we hear of few agri-sector financings in South-East Asia, but more and more opportunities exist.

However, relatively few international banks are active on the softs front. Myanmar is an exciting prospect which will ultimately come into view for institutions with good knowledge and contacts, but for the time being the virtual non-existence of a local banking structure will remain the major drawback.

Export finance shows buoyant trends  
Within ECA-backed financing we continue to see a wide range of transactions to varied sectors and all manner of jurisdictions week in and week out. But usually, export finance transactions into South Korea are few and far between, so it is a welcome relief to see the financing of Siemens power sector exports of two power islands to generate 1,260MW in South Korea (TXF News 15 January 2014). The borrower on the $263.7 million deal is Posco Energy. Financing was arranged jointly by KfW IPEX-Bank and NordLB, with cover from Euler Hermes.
 
Back on more traditional territory for ECA-backed capital equipment imports, Russia’s PhosAgro has signed a $440.6 million loan package with Japan’s JBIC and a group of international banks under a co-financing arrangement (TXF News 17 January 2014). The loan is split with the commercial banks portion carrying a tenor of seven-years, and JBIC’s loan with a tenor of 13-years. 

And finally...
I’m off back into the BAFT-IFSA conference, but don’t forget, if you haven’t already sent in your Deal of the Year submissions, then please do so by close of play today – as the deadline is 20th January.

Jonathan Bell
Editor in Chief

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