Quito, Ecuador, To Get New Airport

WASHINGTON -- The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) approved a direct loan of up to $70.2 million to support the export by Caterpillar Inc., Peoria, Ill., and other U.S. suppliers of equipment and services to build a new international airport near Quito, Ecuador. The airport will be located 24 kilometers outside of Quito at a lower elevation than the existing airport, with a longer runway to accommodate larger aircraft.

Project company Quiport will design, build, operate and maintain the airport. Quiport is owned by sponsors Aecon Construction Group, Inc. of Canada, Andrade Guiterrez Concessoes S.A. of Brazil, ADC Management, Ltd. of the British Virgin Islands, and HAS Development Corp. of Texas.

"We are very glad to approve this financing which will support U.S. exports and jobs while facilitating Ecuador's infrastructure development," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman Philip Merrill.

The transaction is structured as a limited recourse project financing, a type of private financing where repayment comes from project revenues.

Participating with Ex-Im Bank as senior lenders on the airport project are Export Development Canada (EDC), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC).

Quiport has the rights to operate the existing airport in Quito for the four-year construction period, which will generate revenues for the project. After completion of the new airport, the old airport will be shut down and operations will be transferred.

Ex-Im Bank, the official U.S. export credit agency, is in its 71st year of helping finance the sale of U.S. exports, primarily to emerging markets, by providing loan guarantees, export credit insurance, and direct loans. In fiscal year 2003, the Bank authorized financing to support $14.3 billion of U.S. exports. For more information, visit www.exim.gov