The U.S. Export-Import Bank authorized a $118 million direct loan to the Vietnamese government for the export of a Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. telecommunications satellite and additional goods and services.
The loan, which represents Ex-Im Bank's first satellite transaction with Vietnam, supported about 525 American jobs, according to Lockheed Martin estimates, and financed export sales totaling $215 million.
"As one of our nine key markets, Vietnam affords American companies unique export opportunities," said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg, in a statement.
The Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), a state-owned enterprise based in Hanoi acting on behalf of the Vietnamese government in the transaction, hopes to satisfy the growing demand of telecommunications and television markets emerging in the region.
The satellite, VINASAT-2, is a geosynchronous satellite that was launched May 15 and recently completed a series of in-orbit testing. Equipped with a payload of 24 active Ku-band transponders, the satellite provides coverage to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.
BNP Paribas will serve as the documentation agent and letter-of-credit bank.
As of the end of fiscal year 2011, Ex-Im Bank's credit exposure in Vietnam accounted for $185 million of the bank’s portfolio. In fiscal year 2012, the bank authorized about $1.4 billion to support U.S. satellite exports, exceeding its financing for the industry in fiscal year 2011.
Ex-Im Bank said it considered the transaction only after receiving White House approval. According to the bank's charter, the president must first determine if an Ex-Im Bank loan of $50 million or more to a communist country is in the national interest before the bank’s board can vote on the transaction.