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JB's weekly round-up - 24 February 2014

It is your last chance to register your input for the ICC Export Finance Global Survey, conducted by TXF. It is the first time this survey has been attempted by the ICC but with broad participation we will be able to paint an accurate, representative industry picture which we hope will be of use to everyone in the industry.
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That was the week that was…

Last chance: ICC export finance banking survey
It is your last chance to register your input for the ICC Export Finance Global Survey, conducted by TXF. It is the first time this survey has been attempted by the ICC but with broad participation we will be able to paint an accurate, representative industry picture which we hope will be of use to everyone in the industry.

If you are a banker, I encourage you to take this 10 minute survey – which will also give you access to the full results as soon as they are available.

The deadline is the end of this week. Please click here to take the survey now.

Berne Union celebrates 80th year 
In 2014, the Berne Union celebrates its 80th anniversary, having been founded on 4 January 1934 in Berne, Switzerland. The Union’s branding throughout the year will feature a prominent 80 to signify this occasion.

TXF is proud to have been chosen to produce the annual printed Berne Union yearbook for the first time. And, as expected, we have put our own little spin on it. Alongside this printed publication, we are also producing a complementary app. The BU80 app will host articles, data analysis and the member directory, along with videos and photos - all celebrating 80 years of the Berne Union.

We will also be producing a more forward-looking second edition later this year - watch this space for further information.
 
Commodity trader joy
With International Petroleum (IP) Week in London just behind us, this is a time of the year that the commodity finance community really enjoys. London was stuffed to the gunnels last week with good souls running around with the likes of Vitol, Gunvor, Mercuria, Rosneft and the like. Always lots of private parties – but oh, for some of the traders those invites have become ever so gold-plated.
 
The flow of regular trader revolver financings continues, with agricultural trader ED&F Man last week launching their $1.89 billion RCF (TXF 20 February 2014). HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Nedbank Capital are the initial mandated lead arrangers (MLAs). Interest is already strong – unsurprisingly. Last year’s deal was split between a one-year and a three-year facility – and incorporated a swingline facility in the three-year portion with each of the MLAs committing $20 million. That RCF had some 57 banks on board – see more details on the article.
 
Elsewhere in the commodity world, Trafigura last week decided to buy a 30% equity stake in the Jinchuan Group's newly established copper smelter in Fangchenggang, China (TXF 21 February 2014). Shrewd move as Trafi waits for further development of the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper mine in Mongolia. Importantly for Trafigura, the estimated $150 million investment includes a multi-year supply and offtake arrangement corresponding to Trafigura's shareholding percentage.
 
Onwards and upwards for Exiar
With Russia’s Exiar being the newest of the export credit agencies (ECAs), the agency has much to do - and so far it is making extremely good inroads. The latest development comes with the signing of a cooperation pact with UniCredit (TXF 17 February 2014). And significant for UniCredit also, this is the first such strategic agreement signed with a foreign bank.
 
And more ECA good cheer
Elsewhere in the export credit sector, US Ex-Im guaranteed a landmark Apple Bank aircraft $300 million loan to China’s Minsheng Financial Leasing (MSFL) (TXF 21 February 2014). The financing, for the purchase of eight Gulfstream Aerospace aircraft, is a major boost for MSFL. The loan also comes on the heels of a $210 million financing from Export Development Canada earlier this year.
 
The spring of French investment
In Europe, Bpifrance is aiming to make 2014 ‘the spring of French investment’ (TXF 18 February 2014). The public investment bank has announced a new funding mechanism to be launched in the next few months that is aimed at helping SMEs export their goods abroad. Watch this space.

South Stream gathers momentum
In a sign that the project is gathering some momentum after delays earlier in the process, the consortium behind the South Stream pipeline has placed an order for 75,000 12-metre pipes to be used in the construction of the pipeline (TXF 20 February 2014). The new $1.38 billion contract is divided between Germany’s Europipe, and Russian companies United Metallurgical and Severstal.

Keaton secures Investec facility
Keaton Energy has turned to Investec Bank for a $32 million loan that will allow it to settle its balance from a previous project finance facility from Nedbank as well as press ahead with the acquisition of Xceed Resources on a cash basis (TXF 19 February 2014).

Norton Rose bolsters LatAm presence
Law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has added to its Latin America offices in Caracas, Venezuela, and Bogota, Colombia, with a new practice in Rio de Janeiro. (TXF News, 19 February 2014). The office will be headed by Andrew Haynes and Glenn Faass, partners with years of experience of working in Brazil.

IFC meets in Lisbon
The IFC Annual Global Trade Partners Meeting in Lisbon last week was a major success with around 300 delegates attending (TXF 21 February 2014). Congratulations to all the IFC team for all their hard work. From a delegate perspective it was good to have significant networking time, and some excellent functions were also arranged – including the dinner on the first night at Caixa Geral de Depositos where the pianist actually physically got into the Steinway grand piano!
 
And finally...
Although most of you won’t care or won’t have any idea what I am rambling on about: Come on you Black Cats!!! Yes, my old home town football team Sunderland take on Manchester City in the League Cup Final at Wembley this coming weekend. Keep the Faith!!!!
 
That’s all folks.
 
Cheers.
 
JB
 

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