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Eksportfinans turns to government for funding

The Norwegian government and Eksportfinans have announced a new facility that will provide long-term financing for the country’s export sector. The resort to the facility shows that the financial crisis, and access to capital, is becoming difficult even for some of the bond market’s most prestigious names – a situation likely to be exacerbated by the hundreds of billions of dollars of state-guaranteed bank debt issuance in the months to come.

“The purpose is for us to increase lending. There is a real challenge for Eksportfinans and other non explicitly guaranteed institutions to get long-term financing in the international capital markets right now,” Oliver Siem, executive vice-president and director of treasury at Eksportfinans, tells Euromoney.

Siem says the government will enact a scheme for a facility of up to NKr 50 billion ($7.2 billion). “Eksportfinans has the right to draw on this facility for the next two years. The amount we are able to draw down is equal to the new lending to the export sector, and with a duration up to five years. Our policy on the lending side will not change.” New export projects that qualify under the OECD Consensus Agreement for export financing will be refinanced under the facility.

“We will continue to have full financing flexibility – which enables us to fund as normal if we so wish,” Siem adds.

Like all agencies, Eksportfinans has seen its curve crushed by the emergence of explicit guaranteed bank debt. Eksportfinans has an unusual ownership structure – it is owned by both the state and the Norwegian banks – but it has no explicit government guarantee.

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