The state-run bank provides huge financial support to shipbuilders’ exporting efforts
Chairman Kim Yong-hwan of Korea Eximbank
The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) announced that it signed a ship finance loan agreement worth $200 million with Thenamaris, the largest ship management company in Greece currently operating a fleet of 152 ships, in Athens on Feb. 7.
Chairman Kim Yong-hwan of Korea Eximbank met President Constantinos Martinos of Thenamaris and signed a direct loan agreement at the Thenamaris headquarters to finance the Greek ship owner’ s purchase of ships from Samsung Heavy Industries.
In July 2011, Thenamaris ordered three LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers worth a total of $600 million from Samsung Heavy Industries.
A container ship building contract worth $500 million between a Korean shipbuilder and a Greek shipping company hit a snag when the buyer’ s European financiers cut back on their lending in the wake of the global financial crisis, making it difficult for the buyer to finance its ship purchase.
That’ s when Korea Eximbank stepped in, providing the funds needed to purchase the ships in the form of a direct loan to the importer. The importer will repay the loan out of the cash flow generated by operating the ships after their delivery.
Industry insiders agree that this financing deal, made against the backdrop of the retreat of European banks from the ship financing market, has paved the way for additional orders to flow into Korean shipyards from Greece, the largest maritime shipping power in the world.
Korea Eximbank’ s direct loan can benefit Korean shipbuilders in two ways.
As well as facilitating ship exports, direct loans also allow Korean shipbuilders to maintain strong balance sheets since the loan is made to the buyer and thus does not increase the shipbuilder’ s debt burden.
Chairman Kim remarked after the signing ceremony, “Korea Eximbank will actively undertake financial marketing initiatives aimed at top shipping companies such as Thenamaris to support Korean shipbuilders hit by declining prices and demand. We will also provide more direct loans to aid the export of high value-added ships such as LNG carriers to accelerate the qualitative evolution of the Korean shipbuilding industry.”
Korea Eximbank is an official export credit agency providing comprehensive export credit and guarantee programs to support Korean enterprises in conducting overseas business. Since its establishment in 1976, the bank has actively supported Korea’ s export-led economy and facilitated economic cooperation with foreign countries. Korea Eximbank’ s primary services include export loans, trade finance, and guarantee programs structured to meet the needs of clients in a direct effort to both complement and strengthen the clients’ competitiveness in global markets. The bank also provides overseas investment credit, natural resources development credit, import credit, and information services related to business opportunities abroad.
Furthermore, the bank is responsible for the operation of two government funds: the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF), a Korean Official Development Assistance program, and the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund (IKCF), an economic cooperation program with North Korea. The bank strives to become “The Global Financial Partner Connecting Korea to the World” as reflected in its vision by continuously fostering innovation and development throughout its operations.