US Ex-Im provides guarantees for export of US-made bridges to Zambia

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Ex-Im) has announced that it is providing $73 million in guarantees for the loan related to the sale of Acrow Corporation of America’s modular steel bridge components to the Road Development Agency in Zambia.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Ex-Im) has announced that it is providing $73 million in guarantees for the loan related to the sale of Acrow Corporation of America’s modular steel bridge components to the Road Development Agency in Zambia. 

US Ex-Im will guarantee a $73 million commercial loan to facilitate the export of 144 steel bridges. This action is expected to support approximately 200 jobs at Acrow’s manufacturing facility in Milton, Pennsylvania, along with thousands more in Delaware, New Jersey and several other states.

Speaking with TXF, a US Ex-Im representative says that Citibank (Citi) is the commercial lender on the deal and is extending the $73 million loan financing, guaranteed by US Ex-Im, for the procurement and installation of 144 Acrow modular steel bridges in Zambia.

Zambia is acting through its Ministry of Finance, as the borrower on this transaction.

US Ex-Im informs TXF that the total term for this transaction is approximately nine years and seven months.

The US Ex-Im spokesperson further informs TXF: “Ex-Im Bank's loan guarantees help secure competitive financing for a US company’s international buyers and ensures that the US exporter doesn’t lose a sale because their foreign competition is coming to the table with similar financing offered by their own governments. These types of Ex-Im products level the playing field with the 59 other export credit agencies around the world, and in the case of riskier markets like sub-Saharan Africa, they also fill a private sector financing gap.”

Also commenting on this deal, US Ex-Im chairman and president Fred Hochberg, says: "With this transaction, we’ve not only leveled the playing field for an American manufacturer in a highly competitive global market, but we’ve also empowered Acrow to hire more American workers. This deal is a great example of how Ex-Im financing equips American exporters to beat the competition overseas while supporting jobs at home."

Acrow’s competitive proposal was chosen over those developed by its European and Chinese counterparts in a market that has historically been the focus of substantial Chinese investment, thanks to the financing it applied for and received from the bank. As a result, the company’s bridges will be used in Zambia’s repair and modernisation plan to improve Zambia’s rural road infrastructure, connecting people to schools, hospitals and enhanced economic opportunities.

Acrow president and CEO Bill Killeen, remarks: “These Ex-Im Bank-supported projects transform Acrow Bridge's international presence by offering clients financing alternatives that assist emerging markets in accessing immediate and profound upgrades to their bridging infrastructure, particularly in rural areas where agricultural development depends so heavily on quality road and bridge networks.”

Paul Sullivan, Acrow’s vice president of international business development, remarks: “The Zambia project will build on Acrow Bridge’s decades-long commitment to providing high-quality bridge infrastructure solutions in Africa, with a special focus on local skills capacity building,” 

Speaking at a US Department of Commerce’s 2015 Africa & Middle East Business Outlook Conference, which was held May 27-28 in Dubai, Sullivan also remarked: “Infrastructure investment is a critical element in the economic development of Africa, in particular. American companies can play an important role in these markets, but they have to understand the immense importance of tailoring their offerings to the needs of governments and agencies in terms of financing and the use of local assets, including labour and engineering, in the project.”

Acrow Bridge specialises in prefabricated modular steel bridges solutions for permanent, temporal and emergency use.

In pursuit of its congressional mandate to support the export of US-made goods and services to the sub-Saharan region, US Ex-Im authorised more than $2 billion in financing to support such exports in 2014, the largest total in the bank’s 81-year history.

In fiscal year 2014, US Ex-Im approved $20.5 billion in total authorisations. These authorisations supported an estimated $27.5 billion in US export sales, as well as approximately 164,000 American jobs in communities across the country.

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