Rio govt. seeks US$244mn BNDES financing for tankers

Bnamericas Published: Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Brazil's Rio de Janeiro state government plans to approach national development bank BNDES to secure US$244mn financing for construction of four oil tankers for federal energy company Petrobras, local newspaper Jornal do Comercio reported. Petrobras awarded the construction contract to Estaleiro Eisa, under terms of the federal government's Navigate Brazil Program to encourage domestic shipbuilding. A lack of financing means construction of the two vessels - two Panamax and two Suezmax size - is more than one year behind schedule. Furthermore, the BNDES loans would release a bottleneck in financing requests that would allow Brazilian shipyards to bid for contracts to build another 20 ships as part of the modernization plan of Petrobras shipping subsidiary Transpetro, state energy secretary Wagner Victer said. In 2001, Eisa established a joint venture with Singapore's Jurong to participate in the tender of the four-ship contract, but it was abandoned three months ago, Eisa VP Ronaldo Peryles dos Santos said. The financing has been blocked because Eisa owes BNDES 28mn reais. But Santos said the debt has been refinanced and the company is now relying on seven ships that have been contracted for 2003, worth a total of US$50mn, to help meet its financial obligations. Meanwhile, BNDES has changed the project-financing model. It had planned to insure the loan through local bank Unibanco and a consortium of banks. But the plan was abandoned due to the lack of international interest.

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