In this blog post we take a brief look at export credit agency (“ECA”) supported finance in the asset finance industry, and the development of a new template loan agreement by the UK’s Loan Market Association.
The role of the ECAs
ECA finance describes transactions where states (whether by direct sovereign bodies or by separately mandated organisations) provide (financial) support to would-be purchasers of certain goods or equipment constructed in that ECA’s home jurisdiction.
ECA support can make deals both more bankable and more affordable, and has long been a useful feature of asset and project finance. Over the last two decades, a significant amount of export credit support in the form of both guarantees and insurance has been provided to capital-intensive global projects.
With the increased capital adequacy requirements of the Basel III and Basel IV accords, the importance of the sector has continued to grow. ECAs were once seen as insurers of “last resort” and were largely confined to support high risk financings in emerging markets, with much export credit agency insurance having been counter-cyclical. Whilst the perception remains that ECA support increases in importance as traditional financiers become more reluctant to lend (and so provides a bridge where the required debt finance exceeds the available bank liquidity) they just as often will now be found providing specialised products not available elsewhere, for example political risk insurance. Continue Reading