Lots of financing options, yet modest results

How to successfully develop and finance more quality projects in emerging markets?  (Part 1)

Problem:

Last week, at a financing round-table organized by the US-Ukraine Business Council (USUBC) – representatives from the IFC, EBRD, OPIC and US EXIM bank reaffirmed their commitment to financing projects and trade with Ukraine.  They also demonstrated a whole host of very effective financing and insurance tools, available for use in Ukraine and other emerging markets.

At the same event, these esteemed organizations mentioned multiple success stories and yet each only named half a dozen, or so, of the largest Ukrainian companies (a few were the same names repeated by several institutions).  They also addressed fairly effective wholesale funding arrangements with local banks to serve local small and midsize businesses (SMEs).

Yet, each of representatives has acknowledged a serious problem, which acutely manifests itself in Ukraine and in other emerging markets: lack of strong bankable projects in the $10-75 mil. range, a segment widely considered the main economic driver and job generator in emerging market countries such as Ukraine.Fi3E Badge

Also noted were lack well-developed and bankable public sector projects in segments such as healthcare.

Thus given widespread availability of interested project sponsors, along with multiple public financing tools and risk mitigation products, what can be done to bridge the gap and convert more deal concepts into real deals with realistic financing and true economic impact?

Solution:

It is all about proper packaging.   Although the institutions are willing and able to lend,  they each have very specific goals and requirements.  Yet, the project sponsors/borrowers, oftentimes are not able to conform to those requirements, despite the fact that their financials and business plans are often sound.   (To Be Continued)

Fluent In EXIM

(or how to realistically obtain US EXIM financing for emerging markets such as Ukraine)

61ae8-exim-bank1 Recent re-opening of US EXIM Bank’s programs in Ukraine has caused a stir and a flurry of activity among US exporters, Government Agencies responsible for trade promotion, Ukrainian importers and non-governmental agencies working in that market.  Following more than a five-year hiatus, everyone has been excited to expand US-Ukraine’s trading relationship and to increase the quantities of much-needed US exports with the aid of the Bank’s financing.  After all, US exports support US jobs and help Ukraine obtain advanced goods and services needed to grow its economy.

Yet, the early results of all those efforts thus far been negligible due to a dearth of local buyers able to qualify for the Bank’s financing, or trade credit insurance programs. Similar situation has been observed in a number of Central Asian markets, which have recently experienced economic resurgence and thirst for imported goods and services.

In order to enhance the ability of the US Government’s agencies to assist in export promotion and financing and most importantly in order to maximize the ability of US companies to export goods and services to emerging markets, it is vital to understand what are the services provided by the US EXIM and what external components are needed to help grow the numbers of qualified buyers and therefore real exports.

Export Import Bank of the United States (US EXIM) is the official Export Credit Agency (ECA) of the US Government, whose mission is to support export of US-manufactured goods and services with a set of export financing and trade credit insurance tools.16ae9-ex-im2bbank

Open for business in over 120 countries, the bank has been in continuous operation since 1934 and for a good number of years of its existence has been contributing profits to the US Treasury, rather than spending the US Government’s budget funds.  Although over the last several years, the Agency has become a victim of political wrangling and its long-term financing programs, those involving terms over 7 years and single transaction amounts over US$ 10 million have been temporarily crippled, the bank’s short and medium programs have continued and are fully operational.

However, when trying to finance, or insure exports to emerging and frontier market countries using US EXIM’s programs, American exporters often face additional hurdles. One of the most severe of those, is finding sufficient number of qualified, or as we call them “bankable” buyers for US goods and services. The second hurdle is often lack of the so-called “15%”, a minimum amount of funds needed from the buyer to supplement the up to 85% of the qualified export amounts financed through the US EXIM’s support.

Here are a couple of typical export frustration scenarios:

a. A large US manufacturer of agriculture equipment with an established distribution network in Ukraine seeking to supply its distributors with $5-6 million dollars in equipment to be sold to Ukrainian farmers prior to the planting season. The US supplier needs to extend open terms of 6 months to its distributors, but needs to insure its risk of non-payment. The US EXIM offers fantastic trade credit insurance products, which after assessing and accepting the buyers’ financials would insure  the US manufacturer for non-payment of up to 95% of the supplied goods.

Yet, for purchase contracts of over $1mil., US EXIM requires the buyers to present  GAAP/IFRS audited financials and in this case none of the distributors audits their financials and doing so may either be not feasible, or cost prohibitive.  Since the distributors appear very financially and reputationally solid, yet unable to meet EXIM’s cursory requirements, the question becomes how to structure the transaction in order to enhance US EXIM’s product and not lose millions of dollars in sales for the US manufacturer?

b. An established Ukrainian agri company is seeking to replace its fleet of machinery and upgrade its grain storage capacity with US manufactured equipment. Size of the transaction is $15 million. To preserve much needed operational cash, the company would like to arrange 100% financing of the acquisition for a term of six years.  The company does audit its financials to IFRS standards, but due to a fairly small transaction size and lack of knowledge of the Ukrainian market by US banks, the company is having a very difficult time, obtaining the 15% co-financing it needs. Once again, $15 million of US exports are in potential jeopardy, what does one do in a situation such as this?

To answer the above questions and to realistically address the issues, which hamper successful export financing in markets such as Ukraine, a task force consisting of a US merchant bank, international law firms, local banks, non-profits and insurance brokers has been created and effective tools developed to truly assist US exporters convert potential opportunities into real exports. Starting later this month in Washington DC, these tools will be presented in a series of workshops called “Fluent In EXIM”. The workshops also will take place both in key Ukrainian and US cities. Given the importance of the US exports to jobs creation and since US EXIM bank is operated under the the supervision of the US Congress, the workshops, in addition to expert panels, will feature members of Congress, as guest speakers. US Ukraine Business Council, a leading non-profit involved in promoting US-Ukraine economic cooperation, will be coordinating these workshops and helping to make US companies trying to export to Ukraine – Fluent In Exim(tm).

 

 

 

 

President of Kazakhstan visits pioneering Center of Tomotherapy and Nuclear Medicine, program managed by the Princeton Healthcare Alliance

(Astana, Kazakhstan)Yesterday, August 29th, President Nazarbayev of KazakhstaPHA Logon visited a newly opened Center of Tomography and Nuclear  Medicine at the National Research Hospital in Astana the capital of Kazakhstan. Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Hon. Bakhytzhan Sagintayev and the Minister of Health Hon. Elzhan Birtanov were also in attendance.

President Nazarbayev expressed his support for the outstanding effort by Dr. Abay Baigezhin, Director of the hospital and praised the Consulting Radiation Oncologist Dr. Daniel Fass, Chief Medical Officer of the Princeton Healthcare Alliance (PHA), for bringing this state-of- art technology to the people of Kazakhstan.  Dr Fass, who is internationally recognized as a pioneer in Radiation Therapy with over ten years of experience utilizing  Accuray’s Tomotherapy HI-HD equipment explained to the President the unique advantages of that system in treating many malignancies. “This is the first Tomotherapy installation in Central Asia. It is expected patients from throughout the region will be treated at the center.” said Dr. Fass

The clinic will begin treating patients in November and currently has staff training in the Madison, Wisconsin. Building on the success of this project the Clinic plans on expanding to other therapeutic modalities including immunotherapy and stem cell treatments harnessing the advances in precision medicine . Princeton Healthcare Alliance is dedicated to bringing US technology, expertise and financial solutions to improve the lives of citizens in emerging markets the world over.  Next week Dr. Fass, along with other members of the Princeton Healthcare Alliance, will travel to Tashkent, as part of the Trade Mission led by the Broad Street Capital Group (www.broadstreetcap.com) to identify, structure and finance advanced healthcare solutions for the Republic of Uzbekistan

School of ECA Finance to hold a special session during the US Ex-Im’s annual conference week

School of ECA Finance
Washington, DC | 20th and 21st April
Dear Readers,

We would like to inform you that TXF and CC Solutions will be hosting the

School of ECA Finance in Washington, DC on the 20th and 21st of April (the week of the EXIM Bank Annual Conference).

The School is an intensive and highly respected two-day training course providing requisite knowledge of all key areas of export finance. Faculty leaders Valerie Colville and Francisco Anzola will be joined by US EXIM Bank’s James Lewis as well as other guest speakers. All guests of this year’s annual US EXIM Bank Annual Conference, will be entitled to a

25% discount on the normal school rate.
The School is relevant to financiers, exporters, contractors, corporates and lawyers looking to get greater insight into export finance in 2015. You can download the full brochure here.
To book click here or for further information contact Katy Rose, quoting EXIM.

Best regards,

US EXIM Bank Events Team

 Testimonials from the recent School of ECA Finance, hosted in London

 

“Very thorough and interactive course. Valerie and Francisco were excellent and addressed questions very well.”

 

“Useful overview of all aspects of an ECA financing and very seasoned speakers.”

 

“The knowledge of Valerie and Francisco is obvious and makes the course very interactive.”

 

“Great course. A ‘must attend’.”

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