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Ex-Im Approves $461 million to Finance Export of U.S. Satellites to Hong Kong

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a decision that will support thousands of high-tech jobs in the U.S., the board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has authorized two transactions aggregating $461 million to underwrite the export of American-made satellites to Hong Kong.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110414/MM83673LOGO)

The pair of transactions will support approximately 3,700 U.S. jobs, according to Bank estimates derived from Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology.

"We are excited to play such a key role in two dynamic transactions that will support several thousand high-paying U.S. jobs in the satellite and aeronautics industries," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg. "These products reveal the technological ingenuity and innovation of American companies and will benefit millions of people the world over as we orient ourselves more and more to the future."

Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS) of Hong Kong will deploy the satellites to upgrade and expand its fleet, which offers coverage to 80 percent of the world's population and targets emerging markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Russia.  

"We are absolutely delighted with the support of Ex-Im Bank to provide us financing for our upcoming satellite and launch platforms.  In ABS-2, Space Systems/Loral provides us with one of the largest satellites ever to be launched over Asia. Separately, the combination of Boeing 702SP satellites and the Falcon-9 launch vehicles will revolutionize the Fixed Satellite industry with the most cost effective delivery of satellites into orbit," said Tom Choi, chief executive officer of ABS. "With these satellites, ABS will extend the reach of affordable and reliable communications and broadcast services to the emerging markets of the world. We are proud to be partnered with such innovative companies and we are extremely thankful for Ex-Im's financing support."

In the first transaction, the Bank authorized a $171.29 million direct loan to ABS to finance the purchase of a FS1300, C/Ka/Ku-band geostationary satellite from Space Systems/Loral Inc. (SS/L) and insurance from Aon. The satellite is scheduled to launch in 2013.

SS/L, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based provider of satellites and space systems, has manufactured more than 250 satellites since 1960. The satellites have delivered an excess of 1,900 years of on-orbit service.

"Export-Import Bank financing helps make U.S. manufacturers more competitive and keeps our space industry strong," said John Celli, president of Space Systems/Loral.  "Our work on the satellite for ABS keeps hundreds of engineers, technicians and managers employed here in Palo Alto and many hundreds more at suppliers across the U.S." 

Additionally, the Bank authorized a separate $289.71 million direct loan to ABS to facilitate the purchase of two 702SP C- and Ku-band geostationary satellites from Boeing Satellite Systems International (Boeing), insurance from Aon, technical support, and the launch of both of the satellites with Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Falcon 9. The transaction will finance the first two of Boeing's all-electric-propulsion commercial satellites and the first Ex-Im Bank-backed SpaceX launch. The two satellites are planned to launch in 2015 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

"The Bank's support of this important satellite operator, one of two launch customers, finds it again at the forefront of helping fulfill a global opportunity with an advanced-technology, American-made product," said Craig Cooning, chief executive officer of Boeing Satellite Systems International.  "Our all-electric propulsion means lighter launch weight, which translates into more payload capability at a lower cost in orbit. It ultimately means we can offer customers more and capture sales that will support hundreds of high-tech American jobs."

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Hawthorne, Calif., SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches rockets and spacecraft. It is the first private company to build, launch, and dock spacecraft at the International Space Station, a mission previously accomplished only by government space entities.

"Ex-Im Bank's financing of the ABS mission on a Falcon 9 launch vehicle marks the first SpaceX international launch deal to receive Ex-Im backing, and we look forward to many more to come," said Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX president. "SpaceX is rapidly winning back market share in a commercial field once dominated by the U.S. The support of Ex-Im is great for our customers, our jobs, and our country."

HSBC Hong Kong and New York Project & Export Finance teams acted as lead financial advisor to ABS throughout the Ex-Im Bank application and due diligence processes.

In FY 2012, Ex-Im Bank authorized approximately $1.4 billion in satellite transactions. 

ABOUT EX-IM BANK:

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years (from Fiscal Year 2008), Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank approved $35.8 billion in total authorizations in FY 2012 – an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales – also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $50 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 255,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit www.exim.gov.

SOURCE Export-Import Bank of the United States

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