|Title of the PPR
Portfolio Risk Management & Investment Policy
Board of Directors 28 March 2007
Current Document :
The Board of Directors Decision No. BD2007-02-02, 28 March 2007
The Board of Directors made an amendment in Part II, Section 2.4 B - 'Margins' with the Decision No. BD/2008-14-02, on 25 September 2008
The Board of Directors’ amendment in Articles 9.2 and 6.3 in the Part I, with the Decision No. BD/2009-16-03, on 4 February 2009.
The Board of Directors’ insertion of “Country Exposure Limits as Article 6.4 into Part I, with the Decision No. BD/2009-16-04, on 4 February 2009.
The Board of Directors inserted "Soft Loan Financing" as Section 2.6, with the Decision No. BD/2010-25-06, on 22 September 2010
The Board of Directors inserted a paragraph into (Part-II), Section 6.1, Introduction, with the Decision No. BD/2013-40-05, on 07 March 2013
The Board of Directors inserted a paragraph into (Part-I), Section 8.2, Single Obligator Limits, with the Decision No. BD/2013-42-04, on 16 May 2013
The Board of Directors' Decision with ref. no. BD/2013-44-05, on 26 September 2013, regarding importation of health items from non-ECO member countries (Section 6.1 of Part II)
FARM Department has been split into two parts as FA and RM Departments by the Board of Directors' Decision No. BD/2011-31-03, dated 22 June 2011 and MCR-2016-01-01, dated 19 January 2016
|Financial Policies |
PORTFOLIO RISK MANAGEMENT AND INVESTMENT POLICY
PORTFOLIO RISK MANAGEMENT
1. Conformity of Limits
2. Purpose of Limits
3. Overall Portfolio Limits
3.1 Total Portfolio Limit
Total disbursed Equity Investment
3.2 Public and Private Sectors Risk Assessment Policy
3.3 Limits on Equity Investments
4. Portfolio Diversification
5. Portfolio Review
6. Country Risk
6.2 Country Risk Evaluation
6.3 Country Risk Limit
6.4 Country Exposure Limit
6.5 Country Risk Rating Review Triggers
7. Sector Risk
8. Single Obligor Risk
8.2 Single Obligor Limit
9. Single Project Risk
9.2 Single Project Limit
10. Decision Making Procedures
2.3. Repayment and Tenors
2.4. Principles of Loan Pricing
2.5. Types of Loans
2.6. Soft Loan Financing
A. Project Finance
B. Corporate Finance
C. SME Credit Lines
3.2. Exposure and Pricing
4. Equity Investment
4.2. Conditions for Investment
4.3. Exposure Limits
4.5. Equity Contributions
4.6. Managing the Investment
4.7. Exit Strategies
5. Special Products
5.2. Hedging Instruments
5.3. Financial Leasing
6.1 Trade Finance
7. Financial Intermediaries
7.2. Exposure as a Lender
8.3. Preferred Creditor Status
8.4. Equal Ranking
PORTFOLIO RISK MANAGEMENT POLICIES
1. Conformity of Limits
All policies and limits elaborated in this document are in conformity with the guidelines specified in the Articles of Agreement (the Agreement) and the Bank’s Financial Policies.
2. Purpose of Limits
The Bank’s ability to assume risks must be considered in light of its mandate, its initial level of capitalization, and the projected growth, both in terms of member contributions and operating benefits, of its capital base in the medium and long terms.
Establishing and maintaining the Bank’s good reputation is of paramount importance. To achieve this aim, as well as to attract co-financing on reasonable terms, a set of portfolio risk limits has been devised which will allow the Bank to operate within prudent exposure parameters in line with international best banking guidelines. The portfolio risk limits do not represent operational disbursement targets. Rather, they are meant to be a framework within which individual product guidelines, pricing, and investment strategies are to be set. Additionally they limit exposure to acceptable limits.
The Bank recognizes two types of limits. They are, in descending order:
• Limits set by the Portfolio Risk Management and Investment Policy. These limits are operational, and can be amended by a decision of the Board of Directors upon the recommendation of the Bank’s President.
• Limits set by the Credit Committee or Asset and Liabilities Committee (ALCO). These limits affect the day-to-day operations of the Bank. At no time shall these limits contradict the operational limits.
3. Overall Portfolio Limits
3.1 Total disbursed Equity Investments
According to Article 7 of the Agreement, the total amount of equity investment of the Bank shall not exceed 25 percent of the paid-in capital of the Bank.
3.2 Public and Private Sectors Risk Assessment Policy
The Bank may grant credits both to public and private sector.. Notwithstanding the above mentioned policy statement, the Bank will give priority, to the extent possible, to operations in, or involving, the private sector.
Operations are assessed on their own merits, on the basis of, inter alia, their risk/return profile, economic viability, financial sustainability, and contribution to realization of the mission of the Bank.
4. Portfolio diversification
The Bank’s exposure policy is to diversify risk to the extent possible in order to minimize potential losses in the overall portfolio. The Bank has the difficult task to meet its strategic objectives while setting an appropriately balanced structure of its portfolio, controlling the risk and obtaining returns. The combination of transactions in the portfolio should be chosen in such a way as to enable the Bank to achieve its objectives with minimum risk.
The Bank will therefore establish operational limits and guidelines for its loan, guarantee and equity investment commitments in any one country (country risk) and to any single obligor or any single operation (project risk). The operational limits are subject to revision. These limits have to take into consideration practices used by other financial institutions and will be reviewed by the Credit Committee in the light of the Bank’s experience. Changes to these limits will be implemented according to the procedures outlined in the section entitled “Purpose of Limits”. The overall portfolio composition is measured at the end of each financial year. Updates will be presented to the Credit Committee and to the Board of Directors on a quarterly basis.
5. Portfolio Review
The Operational Portfolio of the Bank is supervised and monitored regularly according to the Operations Cycle Policy and the procedural specifications of the Operations Manual.
When the case may be, but at least twice a year, all operations in the portfolio are reviewed, evaluated, classified according to their risk and provisions are constituted, added or released, as appropriate. The Risk Asset Review process is conducted in accordance with the provisions of the Financial Policies.
6. Country Risk
The quality of the Bank’s assets is affected in a significant measure by political and economic events. Country risk assessment in this context relates essentially to political stability, and its effects on a country’s ability to service foreign and domestic obligations, as well as protect in both a physical and institutional manner, the operating capabilities of an investment.
The Bank’s vulnerability to country risk is determined by the extent to which changes to a country’s operating environment affect the ability of an obligor in that respective country to service its obligations to the Bank. The evaluation of country risk therefore focuses on the extent to which:
i) Individual countries have the capacity to service debt obligations in general and the ETDB debt in particular;
ii) The Bank’s preferred creditor status is secure. The validity of this status depends on the proportion of country’s debt held by preferred creditors.
The Bank may, from time to time, be asked to assume risk in local currencies which are neither convertible nor internationally traded to any significant degree. There are two ways that the Bank can hedge against this kind of currency risk:
i) By avoiding currency mismatches. This is done by ensuring that funds are borrowed by the Bank and repaid to the Bank in the same currency. The risk is thus assumed by the lender from which the currency is raised;
ii) By borrowing/disbursing, and specifying repayment of obligations in freely convertible currencies. In this case, the obligor assumes the currency risk, so the Bank is exposed to the counter-party risk, as well as the currency transfer/inconvertibility risk of the member in which the funds are disbursed.
In order to mitigate risk for certain operations, the Bank may require certain protection mechanisms, such as off-take agreements, escrow accounts, or buy-back agreements. Given the Bank’s regional role and expertise, the Bank will be in a strong position to suggest such arrangements. Furthermore, and to the extent possible, local currencies should be employed for purposes of trade finance between member countries.
6.2 Country Risk Evaluation
Country risk is determined by evaluating quantitative and qualitative measures of risk. It is based on the macroeconomic country statistics, political developments, external market perceptions, and the assessments of the Bank’s specialists. The Bank shall use the most reliable sources of information available. To the relevant extent, the Bank’s assessments shall take into consideration the criteria used by similar IFIs, rating agencies, as well as reputable international research institutes.
The Bank’s country risk rating methodology is part of a document approved by the Board of Directors, which determines the relative rating of country risk and reflects probability of default. The country risk rating system includes consideration of various macroeconomic and political factors, such as trade balance, terms of trade, strength of the banking sector, inflation, transparency of legislative/regulatory bodies, and quality of governance. This list is not meant to be exhaustive, and is fully elaborated in the Credit Risk Manual.
6.3 Country Risk Limit
The country limits aim at preventing risk concentration in one country. The limits are operational and apply to the total aggregate committed loans, guarantees, and equity investments. The country risk limits reflect risk diversification and not resource allocation.
Risk, as reflected in pricing, is mainly a function of an operation’s country of productive activity. Therefore, the owner/promoter/sponsor’s country of registration/residence should not be a major factor in country risk evaluation – and therefore pricing—but shall be considered as a risk mitigant where appropriate.
The country risk that will be considered for pricing is mainly the one assigned to the country of realization of the operation (where the financed operation takes place), combined in a certain proportion, to be determined internally by the Bank on a case-by-case basis, with the risk of the country of registration of the obligor (if different from the country where the operation is located).
Normally, disbursements count towards the ceiling of the country in which the obligor is registered.
Furthermore, if a project has multiple participants, disbursement will count against both single obligor/project limits as calculated per participant, and the individual country limit of the country of registration of each obligor. If there are multiple obligors registered in two or more countries, disbursement will count against individual countries based on the percentage of the financing disbursed to each obligor.
In those instances where the country of registration of the obligor is not a member state, disbursements will count towards the Country Limit of the country where the operation is located, and where the funding provided by the Bank is actually used.
It is important to note that a country’s risk rating should be viewed as a function of pricing and overall risk exposure rather than willingness to operate in a market. Changes to these limits will be implemented according to the procedures outlined in the section entitled “Purpose of Limits”.
6.4 Country Exposure Limits
To ensure that all member countries receive fair treatment, a country exposure limit mechanism will be followed.
As per the country exposure mechanism, each country will be entitled to avail financing in proportion to its percentage share of membership. Since it may not be possible at all times to meet the requirements of this principle, a 20% deviation rate may be applied to each member country, based on their equity share. However, this deviation, if allowed, needs to be regularized within a time period of one year, in line with the respective country’s share exposure. For example, for a member country, holding 15% equity share, the minimum exposure limit shall be 12% and the maximum exposure limit shall be 18% , whereas, for a member country, holding 33% of the equity share, the minimum exposure limit shall be 26.4% and the maximum exposure limit shall be 39.6%.
In case any of the member country(s) cannot reach the minimum exposure limit, the remaining amount shall be allocated for treasury operations until such member country applies to the Bank for the exposure of this amount.
Every year the Bank shall evaluate the short, medium and long term country risk of each member country regarding credit exposure. In case, the country risk of a member country does not allow the Bank to expand financing to meet the minimum credit exposure limit of that country, then the difference between the minimum exposure limit and the country risk limit shall be allocated to the other member countries according to the principles mentioned above. However, in any case the maximum exposure limit of the member countries shall never be violated.”
6.5 Country Risk Rating Review Triggers
The Office of the Chief Economist will monitor the changes together with the operation teams and will initiate full country risk review if necessary. Triggers for a full country review should include all events of a force majeure nature, as well as important events of an economic and/or political nature. At this time, the risk asset review process will be conducted for operations located, and for operations having obligors registered, in the country whose risk is reviewed; as a result of the risk asset review appropriate provisioning measures shall be taken in response to changed risk profiles among individual exposures. Normally, an overall country risk review, covering all member states, shall be carried out annually, in the first quarter of the year following the year whose results (economic, social, political) are used as reference for the analysis.
7. Sector Risk
Specific sector limits will not be meaningful, except in case of specific sectors where the Bank may have a high risk due to excessive concentration of exposure. In such case sector limits may be established by the Credit Committee following a recommendation to this effect made by the Financial Analysis & the Risk Management Department. The Bank will continuously monitor the sector concentration. Sector diversification is possible on the regional level and less on the country level. Sectoral analysis will be based on the categories of economic activity.
Each operation is evaluated on its own merit, including the risks inherent to the particular industry. The Bank will monitor its loan, guarantees and equity investments by sectors since the concentration of the portfolio in one sector could make the Bank exposed to the vulnerability of that sector. As well, in order to achieve its development aims the Bank will establish a sector portfolio in conformity with its priorities and objectives.
8. Single Obligor Risk
One of the fundamental ways to diversify credit risk is to ensure no single borrower is permitted more that a “reasonable” amount of financing as related to the Bank’s capital. Furthermore, where the Bank has a relatively high proportion of sizeable single exposures, even if none are “large”, the Bank is more exposed than a bank with widely diversified portfolio.
The definition of the single obligor limit is the maximum amount exposure, which the Bank will extend to any one borrower or group of borrowers, which are majority owned or effectively controlled by a single entity.
8.2 Single Obligor Limits.
While the Bank’s other portfolio limits allow for considerable overall flexibility, the operational limit of Single Obligor exposure shall never exceed 15% of paid-in capital, reserves, and surpluses (total equity), as a matter of sound banking principles. This limit may be increased up to 25% of total equity in case of a member country’s guarantee is obtained. Cumulative single obligor exposure which exceeds 10% of total equity shall never exceed 100% of total equity. The operational country ceiling remains the limit for each country. Guarantees of a quasi-sovereign nature offered by sub-national units of member countries, or sub(non)-sovereign guarantees offered by administrative units (e.g. municipalities) shall be considered on a case-by-case basis, but shall not be considered substitutes for sovereign guarantees.
The financial institutions being authorized by the Bank as financial intermediaries are eligible to participate as borrowers. The amount of loans that shall be granted to each financial institution shall never exceed 20% of total equity.
Within the aggregate cash and non-cash based exposure limits approved to a Financial Institution (FI) for different operations of the Bank excluding treasury operations, the unutilized portion of the cash limits may be reallocated to increase the non-cash based exposure limit of the same FI for the purpose of direct lending operations. The reallocation of limits among cash and non-cash based operations including maturity shall be approved by the Credit Committee. However, in any case the aggregate exposure limit approved for the FI shall never be violated.
On the other hand, securities provided by a financial institution with regard to the loans granted by the Bank, shall never exceed 40% of paid-in capital.
In order to diversify risks in its equity investments, the Bank’s committed equity investment to a single obligor must not exceed 5% of the Bank’s paid-in capital.
These operational limits are effective from the date the present policy has been entered into force. Changes to these limits will be implemented according to the procedures outlined in the section entitled “Purpose of Limits”.
9. Single Project Risk
The single project limit is the maximum total loan, guarantee and equity investment, which the Bank will extend to any stand-alone operation.
9.2 Single project limits
Special purpose companies established for project purposes should be treated as obligors, and thus are subject to the single obligor limit. The single obligor limit applies cumulatively to the entire set of outstanding exposure to a client, irrespective of the financing instrument used. However, this may prove problematic since the Bank will use a strict calculation of the single obligor limit that is likely to prove too low to be effective in the case of even medium-sized projects.
The Bank may address this issue by exchanging a higher project limit for guarantees against the operation via a graded system of mitigant acceptability. Acceptable mitigants include, but are not limited to, full sovereign guarantees, and the participation of other multilateral institutions. The acceptability of mitigants will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis until the bank establishes a formal grading system.
The single project limit is established at 50% of total project cost, or long-term capital required by the operation, as appropriate. Those limits are applicable for Project Finance operations. Individual single project limits for other instruments used in Corporate or Trade Finance operations are established for each type of instrument described in Part II of this document, Investment Policy.
The total amount to be disbursed by the Bank over the lifetime of an operation must still qualify under operational country limits. Changes to these limits will be implemented according to the procedures outlined in the section entitled “Purpose of Limits”.
Single obligor limit
Financial institution limit
Government guaranteed loans for a single obligor
Cumulative loans guaranteed by each Financial Institution
Cumulative large loans
(Loans extended to a single obligor other than financial institutions which exceeds 10% of total equity)
Single equity investment
Single project limit
Project Finance: Up to 50% of long-term
capital required by the operation, or of
project cost. This limit applies
cumulatively to debt and equity financing, and guarantees if appropriate,
that constitute the financing package.
Corporate finance: Maximum 100 of
financing request, depending on the type
of instrument, up to Single Obligor limit
Trade Finance: Maximum 100 of the
value of transaction, depending on the
type of financing instrument and
circumstances, within the Single Obligor limit.
Cumulative Project Finance with the maturity more than 10 years
10. Decision Making Procedures
This section sets out the approval process of loans, equity investments and the borrowing of funds by the Bank.
a) Before a loan and guarantee is provided, the applicant shall have submitted an adequate financing proposal to the Bank. The Bank's specialized staff, in line with the process outlined in the Bank’s Operations Cycle Policy shall prepare a proposal together with a written report and submit them to the Credit Committee for the necessary approval.
b) The Board of Directors shall have the power to take decisions with respect to loans as well as equity investments and borrowing of funds by the Bank.
c) The Board of Directors shall review at least annually the Bank’s operations and shall periodically evaluate the adequacy of operational strategy (Business Plan, Sector and Country Strategies) to ensure that the purpose and functions as set forth in Article 1 and 2 of the Agreement are fully served.
The bases for Part II of this document are the Agreement and the Financial Policies (approved by the BoD).
These Investment Policies may be, if deemed necessary, further detailed in operational documents to be issued internally.
The Bank has three main lines of business: Project Finance, Corporate Finance and Trade Finance. For financing operations the Bank utilizes a number of instruments/products either independently or concurrently in structured operations. Furthermore, the Bank may act either as a sole financier, or participate in a multitude of ways in co-financing arrangements.
The purpose of this section is to provide the basic guidelines for Bank’s products, i.e. loans, equity investments, guarantees, and special products. The Bank will gradually develop further its product line as it develops specific expertise, with a view to acting proactively in order to meet evolving market demand. These guidelines set up the general terms under which the Bank will conduct its operations (excluding treasury operations described in Financial Policies).
The Bank offers its clients a wide range of financial products, including loans, equity investments, guarantees, leasing, discounting, forfaiting and other special products such as underwriting commitments and stand alone risk management products to be developed by the Bank further. The choice of instruments is determined primarily by the requirements of the Bank's clients and their operations in consistency with the Bank’s policy.
The terms of the Bank's products are tailored to meet the specific requirements of each client and operation and may be adjusted throughout the term of the operation. Such adjustment may, if so provided in the original documentation, extend to the conversion of one product type to another during the life of an operation.
The Bank offers a wide range of loans, which enables the Bank to respond flexibly and effectively to the diverse needs of its clients and to address their specific financial risk. The Bank tailors loans to specific financial requirements of its clients, including project, corporate and trade transactions, and affords its clients the benefit of the most sophisticated financial techniques available in the international financial markets.
The Bank provides customized loan features in order to meet client currency, and interest rate risk preferences without necessarily subjecting itself to higher risk or additional cost. The Bank charges an adequate structure of interest, fees and commissions to compensate it for costs and risks incurred in providing these services. The structure of fees and charges associated with these services are designed to compensate the Bank for hedging costs and administrative expenses required to provide such features. The basis for providing a loan is the cash flows of the project and the ability of the obligor to repay that loan over the agreed period. Loans could be committed in one or more currency tranches.
The Bank will offer a range of short –to – long term loan products on both variable and fixed bases. The Bank's loans can be denominated in any currency or combination of currencies, including local currencies, in which the Bank is able to fund itself either from paid-in capital or borrowings. Loan convertibility in terms of currency and interest rate configuration is possible, provided that unwinding costs are recoverable by the Bank from the client. Conversion from one loan configuration to another may also be subject to a conversion fee.
The Bank’s loan products will have various, tailored, options and features which have two principal objectives: (i) to provide borrowers with the flexibility to meet their specific needs, and (ii) to give the Bank a strong competitive position in the market.
The Bank provides loans to private and state owned entities. In the light of enlargement of restructuring and privatization process in the countries of operations the Bank will pay due regard to the quality, commitment and experience of the management / owners of the final beneficiaries (effective users of funds) in its exposure to both sovereign and non sovereign-risk entities.
Loans are normally to be secured, although the Bank may accept an unsecured position where this is judged to be consistent with sound banking principles. The acceptable security may include but is not limited to collateral, guarantees, pledges or any other security from shareholders or third parties. For determination of applicable security in Bank financed operations shall be followed the provisions of the Security Policies. The security will help to protect not only debt service but also commit security providers to continued supply of management, technology, and equipment, or completion of the project.
Acceptable debt structures must take into account the expected cash flows, an adequate contribution made at the risk of the promoters and security for the repayment obligations, employing varied techniques for reducing the risk to the lender.
Loan covenants must be considered which will ensure the maintenance of a balanced financial structure. Appropriate actions are to be taken if borrower breaches loan covenants, including interrupting disbursement, loan acceleration, cancellation, restructuring, or instituting legal procedures. In cases of deterioration of asset quality and/or of delinquency, the Bank shall make use of the procedures presented in the Financial Policies.
Loans extended by the Bank may be denominated in any currency, including local currencies, or a combination of currencies in which the Bank is able to fund itself. The Bank considers as appropriate extension of the loans denominated in local currencies of member countries in those markets where: (i) the Bank can raise funds, and (ii) the local currency is not subject to substantial exchange restrictions and controls.
Lending in the domestic currency will usually be in amounts equal to funds raised on the domestic market and capital held by the Bank in that local currency. Fund raising in local currencies should be encouraged only if the cost of funds is lower than the cost of funding in the reference hard currency plus the expected rate of depreciation of the local currency against the reference currency over the repayment period of the loan. In cases where funding in local currencies is not available, or the Bank considers risks associated with this operation unacceptably high, lending in local currency may be used with repayment terms and conditions (interest rate, fees and commissions) indexed to the reference currency in which the Bank either funds itself or holds its equity, reserves and surpluses.
For each portion of the loan denominated in a distinct currency, the applicable terms and conditions will be established separately, to reflect: (i) cost of funding; (ii) market conditions; and (iii) risks.
The Bank utilizes a wide range of local currency funding, and currency and interest rate hedging, instruments, including but not limited to public bond issue, private placements, commercial paper issues and swaps.
2.3 Repayment and Tenors
Most loans will be medium to long term, i.e. outstanding for more than one year. Normally, these loans will be serviced from the cash flow generated by the operation over a number of years. The longer the time to full repayment, the greater the uncertainty those favorable conditions for repayment will continue. For this reason the Bank establishes a guideline that the final maturity of its loans normally will not exceed 10 years. Consideration will be given to exceeding 10 years maturity for operations that highly contribute to the mission of the Bank, the cash-flow profile warrants this and, the risks are not likely to increase over time.
It is the Bank’s policy to price loans on a variable rate basis; on an exceptional basis, in particular when the financing instrument so requires, the Bank may offer fixed interest loans. Variable interest rate payments must be made regularly (normally quarterly or semi annually) on interest resetting dates. Fixed rate loan interest payments should normally be made semi-annually.
In the case of on-lending, the Bank should ensure that the conditions imposed upon the ultimate borrower are not more favorable than to the direct borrower and that the financial strength of the direct borrower is not unduly weakened.
2.4 Principles of Loan Pricing
The Bank’s Financial Policies stipulate that pricing must be determined taking into account, cost of capital employed, level of risks involved, administration and operating costs incurred in generating, implementing and monitoring a loan as well as income requirements.
Pricing reflects both country risk and the perceived project-specific risk margins depending on particular financial structure of the project, its financial strength, parties and technologies involved, quality of security available, tenor and sector of the project. All operations supported by the Bank must have a clearly defined obligor.
Generally, for a Project Finance operation, a project should provide a viable return to promoters, and full coverage of the aggregate of the financing and administrative costs to the Bank.
Pricing of the Bank’s products entails three main components including, base rate, margins, commissions and fees.
A. Base Rate
The base rate component is linked to either (i) LIBOR (or the LIBOR equivalent fixed, capped, collared, or commodity linked interest rate required by the operation and available from the Bank), or other benchmark such as EURIBOR, depending on the currency of denomination of the financing, or (ii) cost of funds for the Bank, for currencies not actively traded internationally and for which no benchmark rate is available. Relevant benchmark rate will be determined depending on the repayment profile of each individual operation. Base rate will be adjusted for cost of funds if needed.
The country risk margin component is derived from the assessment of country risk described in more details in Part I of this document. The country risk margin ranges from zero to one percent (1%) per annum.
Project risk is determined on a case by case basis depending on the type and magnitude of risk. A number of factors relating to these risks are considered in arriving at the price, including:
i) pricing of sovereign obligations of countries of operation;
ii) size of operation, grace period, and final maturity;
iii) market perception of the current or comparable financing;
iv) financial sustainability and economic viability;
v) technical feasibility;
vi) market conditions;
vii) operating environment.
The range for project risk margins is from zero (0%) to two percent (2%) per annum.
The total risk margin for a standard 1 year loan can range from zero (0%) to three percent (3%) per annum, or higher in well justified circumstances.
A term risk component may be included in the risk margin over the combined country and project risk margin for a standard 1year loan. Thus, 5 basis points may be added for each additional year of maturity.
The country, project and term risk components are combined to yield one single measure of risk margin.
In addition, for every operation the Bank will charge an additional one quarter of one percent (0.25%) contractual spread (profit margin) to: (i) compensate shareholders for their funds and support provided to the Bank; and (ii) provide a minimum profit for the Bank.
C. Commissions & Fees
Fees and commissions may be charged consistent with principles set out in the Bank’s Financial Policy. This includes front-end commission as well as commitment charges, prepayment and conversion fees. This fees, commissions and charges may fluctuate within a range or vary on a case by case basis. They provide partial recovery of administrative and other costs the Bank has made in granting the loan and contribute to the building of the Bank’s reserves and surpluses. In specific cases the Bank may charge unwinding and restructuring fees, which will reflect the costs associated with such operations and which the Bank recovers from the obligor.
Front-end commissions are generally charged and payable at the time of signing but not later than first disbursement. They typically vary from one half of one percent (0.5%) to one percent (1%) and are typically payable in a single installment. The Bank will consider applying the lower commissions in cases of operations with high regional cooperation impact. Refunds may be offered to obligors under specific circumstances. The Bank is entitled to settle the payment of commissions by deducting them from the first disbursement.
Commitment charges are payable on the committed but undrawn part of the facility. They vary typically from 0.25 percent to 1.5 percent for both variable rate loans and fixed rate loans. To the extent possible they cover the difference between the cost of funds and the return on liquidity. Commitment charges should typically begin to accrue immediately after the signing of loan documentation (coming into force), but not later than the date of the first disbursement, for the portion committed and made available but not withdrawn according to the disbursement schedule, if any.
Prepayment fees are charged to offset expenses incurred by the Bank and compensate it for opportunity costs, and are included in a loan agreement.
Unwinding costs incurred by the Bank are charged to cover the funding costs associated with such events as prepayment and cancellations, payment defaults, loan accelerations or conversions.
Convertibility in terms of currency and interest rate configuration is possible provided that costs are recoverable by the Bank from the client. Conversion from one loan configuration to another may also be subject to a conversion fee. Additional optional loan features depend on market funding and swap market opportunity available to the Bank.
Depending on the specificities of each individual transaction other fees and commissions may be applicable; in addition the Bank shall seek reimbursement from the obligor for costs incurred in direct relation to the financed operation.
The application of the Bank’s pricing policy, as established in the Financial Policies, in the case of individual operations is delegated to management in order to provide for consistent application of pricing principles to each individual operation and to give the Bank adequate flexibility in negotiations. The Board supervisory function is exercised through reviews, in conformity with the principles set forward in the Financial Policies. Pricing information and documentation for specific loan transactions is available only to the parties involved in this transaction.
2.5 Types of Loans
A. Project Finance Loans
All project loans (sovereign and non-sovereign risk) made by the Bank will be fully assessed by the Bank on the aspects of risk / return, repayment prospects and the capacities of the borrowers’ guarantors. This has special significance for operations involving external finance. Capacity to repay on a timely basis is the key risk factor for co-financiers who do not have the Bank’s relationships with the borrowing member country.
The competence and ability of public executing agencies to carry out projects is also key factor of analysis. Other factors include an evaluation of the procurement procedures used by the borrower, an economic analysis including regional cooperation and development impact, economic viability and financial sustainability of the project, and environmental analysis.
Projects can vary substantially in the expected financial and economic rates of return depending upon the sectors in which they are made and that some projects are not expected to generate immediate financial returns. However, in assessing the viability of the private sector projects the Bank establishes a reference minimum rate of return of 10%.
The Bank may provide loans for entirely new ventures or the expansion or modernization of existing operations. Usually the Bank will be repaid from the cash flow of the venture. To justify the feasibility of the project, projections of cash flow and balance sheets need to be provided by borrowers in accordance with the requirements established by the Bank. The projections should include a statement of each operating assumption. Financial projection shall consider the sensitivity of the cash flows to alterations in the operating assumptions.
In exceptional circumstances the Bank may provide loans with maturity longer than 10 years. This would typically be the case for infrastructure projects which require heavy upfront investment and construction time, and which start to pay significant dividends- either directly financially or more broadly economically- after a considerable number of years. It is recommended that the Bank participate in financing projects with maturity longer than 10 years only in cases where there can be a clear and demonstrable development impact for the member countries, projects contribute to the economic growth of the economies in the region and promote regional cooperation and economic integration. These benefits should be substantial and measurable. Such projects have terms and conditions negotiated usually with the lead manager of the financing syndicate. Due to its size, the Bank is not normally in a position to lead/manage such complex financing operations. It is therefore recommended that the Bank participate at a level with which it feels comfortable within the overall exposure limits for project, single obligor or country, as appropriate. As a rule of thumb, the Bank may wish to consider limiting very long-term lending (maturity longer than 10 years) to within 10 percent of its operational portfolio of BoD approved operations.
A number of cross-country projects involving or benefiting the Bank’s member countries require significant amounts of funds, which are usually provided by a number of financiers (multilateral development agencies and international financial institutions, official development funding provided by governments of non-member countries, funds allocated by national authorities of member countries, investment banks, commercial banks and other private financiers). These projects tend to be complex operations, but they often are of high importance for the Region, they promote cooperation and economic integration in the ECO Region, and their relevance may extend beyond the ECO Region, thus providing additional strategic benefits to Member Countries; they thus contribute strongly to the fulfillment of the mission of the Bank.
The Bank may act either as a member of a financing syndicate, or as a separate financier. Where the Bank considers it appropriate to provide financing separately from the main financing syndicate, it may do so either for the general purposes of the project, or it may identify a portion or a sub-section of the project, largely independent from the overall project, which it may finance wholly or partly. The Bank’s role in the syndicate should be active even when it cannot lead/arrange the financing, due to size, complexity or other factors. The involvement of the Bank should preferably be from an early stage of project development. To the extent possible, should be avoided situations where the Bank is invited by private financiers to take a remaining part out of a settled deal at the last moment.
In the case of complex project finance operations, where a number of financiers take part in a syndicated loan that has a high value and maturity extends beyond 10 years, sovereign guarantees of the state/states involved in the project should normally be required. Where sovereign guarantees are not available, a strong security should be sought preference being given to readily available assets whose realizable market value is stable and can be easily assessed.
For projects that are within the financing capability of the Bank and have a maturity of less than 10 years the Bank should not normally seek a sovereign guarantee, but would make all necessary efforts to secure the loan adequately.
As a preferred creditor, the Bank, when participating in the financing as part of a syndicate, should at a minimum accept the same security offered to other financiers, and clear liens should be determined from the onset, which are identifiable, traceable, realizable and provide reasonable comfort that they consistently cover the value of the remaining principal and interest due. In cases where the Bank acts as co-financier, its share of the overall security provided to the lenders should be proportionate to its share of financing and should benefit from similar conditions with those offered to the other financiers, except in cases where application of the Bank’s preferred creditor status gives it preference that does not extend to all lenders. In other words, the Bank financing should be provided on terms and conditions that should be at least at par with those offered to the other financiers.
The grace period may extend to a maximum number of years not exceeding a third of the loan maturity. The maturity of the loan and grace period should however be determined with due consideration being given to factors such as: the useful life of project; revenue generation capacity of the project; time expected to elapse before the project generates profits; solidity, marketability and reliability of the security provided.
The availability period should be closely related to the technical specifications for project execution, but should normally not exceed five years. In case there are specific sub-projects identified that have agreed disbursement and repayment schedules, the availability period should be thought of as the one described by the disbursement schedule if any, and should not affect the specific grace period. To the extent possible, payments/disbursements should be made against documents and directly to the provider of goods, works and services.
When acting as a co-financier in large value projects the Bank should earmark for itself a portion of each repayment proportionate to its share of the financing. The availability term will normally be established according to the project requirements and in consistency with the grace period. Principal repayments should commence as soon as positive cash flow from the project is available. Principal repayments will usually be made in equal installments with the same frequency and at the same time as interest payments, although customized repayment schedules may be considered on a case by case basis.
B. Corporate Loans
Corporate loans are provided by banks to companies in order to cover expenses such as, among others, purchasing equipment and inventories, acquiring other businesses, paying suppliers of utilities and meeting payrolls. In the general sense their coverage may be expanded to include all balance sheet facilities. In view of the mandate of the Bank, not all of the expenditures - for which corporate loans are typically used - are eligible for financing. The Bank is a development institution that must ensure that Bank funds are used to create value for the economies of Member Countries. Certain products typical for commercial banks (balance sheet restructuring loans, retail financing, and revolving general purpose credit lines) will not be provided by the Bank to its clients.
Eligible types of corporate loans
Investment loans, also known as term business loans, refer to the provision of loans for the acquisition of equipment, modernization of plant and structures, acquisition of new technologies and other related expenditures. It involves the provision of medium-term (one to five years) funding to eligible manufacturing clients for the specific purpose of purchasing capital equipment for the upgrade and modernization of existing manufacturing and production facilities. Borrowers eligible for such financing would be export oriented..
The imports of capital equipment would not be restricted based on their origin. Following the Bank’s Procurement Principles and Rules, the importing private sector company would purchase equipment fit for the intended purpose at a fair market price, regardless of where the equipment originates. This approach would help to ensure that manufacturers get the equipment required to maximize competitive positions, resulting in greater exports, job creation and hard-currency revenue. To the extent possible the Bank will seek to obtain refinancing from official export credit and development agencies of the countries from where the capital equipment subject to the transaction originates. The Bank may finance up to 85% of the value of the transaction, but only up to the single obligor limit. Provision of the product should only be considered for capital equipment, not consumer goods or services.
Clear demonstration should be required that as a result of Bank involvement, export performance will improve. This would have an evident developmental benefit in the country hosting the firm, and it would also facilitate regional cooperation to the extent that a portion of the exports goes to other ECO countries. Additional favorable features include that the equipment introduce new technology or techniques into the Region, that it possess the potential for demonstration effects in other ECO countries and that it helps in improving environmental protection. A further positive feature would be instances where co-financiers are involved, thus permitting additional funds to be mobilized.
Usually the loan is provided as a lump sum (disbursed at once after the signing of the loan agreement) and is repaid either in installments or as one single “bullet” payment at the end of the loan period that shall be determined according to the maturity of the loan. However, the loan may be disbursed in tranches as payment needs arise. Disbursements may be made to the borrower, or payments may be made directly to the supplier of the equipment contracted. In all cases, the Bank must keep track of the use of the proceeds of the loan and must ensure that payments are made only for eligible expenditures, as stated in the loan agreement. This type of loans is usually secured by fixed assets (plant or equipment) owned by the borrower, or by the shareholders of the borrower. These assets will not be pledged to other creditors and proper insurance may be obtained and pledged in favor of the Bank.
Construction Financing is a form of short to medium-term financing used to support construction of permanent structures (office buildings, houses, factories). The proceeds of the loan are used to buy or lease construction equipment, purchase building materials, develop land, and pay workers. The proceeds of the loan are not used for the operation of the facility whose construction was financed. Repayment is usually made at the end of the construction phase, and only in exceptional cases from the proceeds of the operation of the project.
Mezzanine Financing refers to the provision of medium-term unsecured debt, normally for the expansion and operation of a business. This type of financing usually includes a warrant or an agreed form of profit-sharing agreement, as opposed to the normal interest charged by a creditor, in order to allow the financier to participate in sharing the benefits according, and proportional, to the risks it takes. Mezzanine financing takes the form of subordinated debt, and is therefore senior to equity and quasi-equity but junior to other more traditional forms of debt. It is often used in conjunction with the acquisition of a business in support of its development, restructuring or modernization, or with the provision of additional financing by a venture capital firm.
Financing of Acquisitions of Other Businesses are loans provided to investors from Member Countries to purchase, modernize, restructure, or expand production capacity of a firm in any of the Member Countries. The purpose of the facility is to promote cross-country investments and economic integration of the countries in the ECO region. The Bank must obtain a secured creditor position backed by security, preferably fixed assets free of any claim and properly insured, whose realizable value covers at least the value of the principal of the loan. The use of the proceeds of the loan for acquisition of assets in countries that are not ECO members is forbidden. The Bank may finance up to 100% of the expenditure needs of the client, within the risk exposure limits in force.
Working Capital loans refer to the provision of financing to companies for the primary purpose of meeting recurring, or operational, expenditures, rather than for purposes of investment, or capital equipment purchase. The eligible purchases are represented by inventories of raw materials and intermediate goods, utilities, salary, etc. Usually such loans are secured by accounts receivable and inventories. Such loans normally will not be offered by the Bank on a stand-alone basis, but only in conjunction with, or as a portion of, a loan structure that centers on another form of eligible financing. It is recommended that working capital be limited to a maximum of one half (50%) of the total financing provided by the Bank to a client in a particular financing package.
This product should be offered directly to the borrowing firm. The Bank may finance up to 100% of the expenditure needs of the client, within the risk exposure limits in force. The whole range of security and covenant arrangements may be used, and loans may be secured or unsecured, depending on the quality of the borrower and the risk mitigants that may be available on a case-by-case basis. The Bank should have the ability to renew, accelerate, restructure or recall the loan, depending on the performance of the borrower.
Disbursement may be effected upfront, following signing and meeting of any conditions, as agreed in the loan agreement, or may take place on request. Care needs to be taken to ensure that the borrower conforms to Bank procurement rules in using the proceeds of the funds (e.g. the funds should not facilitate acquisition of assets outside the ECO Region). Sufficient and acceptable documentation, to the satisfaction of the Bank, should be provided by the client, which would demonstrate that the proceeds of the loan are used for eligible expenditures.
Rationale for Offering the Product
In the course of its operations, the Bank may receive demands from Member Country firms for medium term (one to five year) corporate loans which may not be satisfied by private local banks. In general, there is a demonstrated preference of the local banks to provide credit that matches the duration of their liabilities and therefore not to engage in term-transformation. Maturity mismatch is avoided to a larger extent than currency mismatch, due principally to two reasons: (1) high volatility of deposits and the reduced size of the core deposits in total liabilities; and (2) liquidity ratios strictly imposed on banks by the supervisory authorities.
Therefore, (i) recognition of the requirement for medium-term financing for modernization and upgrading, (ii) perceptions of political risks, and (iii) the unwillingness/inability of local commercial banks to meet the growing demand of firms, combine to provide an opportunity for the Bank to meet a real market need. It appears therefore that the Bank is a well suited candidate to provide financing since, as an international financial institution, the Bank is able to take on elements of political risk to which private operators are averse. Any operation should be considered on its financial merits and its ‘bankability’, but also for its development impact. Therefore, there exists a niche to be filled by the Bank, and the provision of medium term loans to medium and large size locally owned firms is a useful instrument for this purpose.
Recommendations and Guidelines for Use of Corporate Loans
Corporate loans should be offered for periods not exceeding five years. The minimum size of the loan, for cost-effectiveness reasons, should be SDR 1 million equivalent in another acceptable currency. Exceptions for corporate loan operations are possible, but would need to (i) achieve a minimum level of profitability and (ii) be justified persuasively.
The product should be flexible to accommodate the needs of the client, but at all times it must preserve the interests of the Bank. Given the nature of this product, it is inherently likely to contribute more weakly to regional cooperation than other types of financing that the Bank may provide, such as project financing. Therefore, it is important that the benefits be clearly identified. These should include the following: (i) support for the development of the economies of Member Countries, (ii) development of strategic relationships with important clients that may lead to greater business opportunities for the Bank, (iii) help in mobilizing additional resources for the benefit of Member Country firms, and (iv) additionally identified benefits, such as helping to modernize or restructure production facilities, increase market presence, etc., will be considered a plus.
C. SME Credit Lines
Credit lines have the purpose to provide selected banks with medium-term capital not available in the market and to encourage establishment of long term relationship between banks and their clients in particular for trade finance operations and provision of medium term financing to SMEs.
The Bank should avoid using Agency Lines (APEX types of loans) as experience of other IFIs with this type of instrument is rather disappointing. On the contrary, credit lines to financial institutions, where the participating intermediary is assuming the client and foreign exchange risks, and also provides a portion of the financing seem to work much more swiftly, as the participating bank has something of significance at stake.
Financing is to be provided in the form of loans through client financial institutions incorporated in the respective member country with an acceptable branch network and prior good quality experience in trade finance, leasing or SME financing. Sub-loans are to be provided on commercial basis. In order to be eligible for financing, sub-borrowers must have adequate financial standing, market demand for their products, and sound management. The funds provided will have to be used in strict accordance with the aims stated in the original stated purpose, and disbursements will be made against presentation of supporting documents.
Funding may be used for the financing of investments in fixed assets and working capital. Eligible sub-borrowers must be privately owned legal entities. Potential borrowers must demonstrate that: (i) they can generate sufficient cash-flow to cover loan repayment; (ii) they have good operations and financial management skills to profitably run the business; and (iii) they do not have overdue obligations to budgets and/or banks. The debt capacity of the applicant sub-borrower is analyzed before loans are approved.
In addition to these general eligibility criteria, the local participating bank will be required to provide information according to the Bank’s Guidelines for the Appraisal and Selection of Financial Intermediaries.
The loan agreements with the selected financial intermediaries shall encompass specific performance criteria by which the ETDB can verify that loans are being used for the agreed purposes. Only financial institutions being authorized by ETDB as financial intermediaries are eligible to participate as borrowers.
Amounts provided by ETDB will be normally used to create a revolving fund. Sub-loans maturity cannot exceed the remaining time to maturity of the credit line. The participating financial intermediaries would use the funds allocated to the revolving fund for extending sub-credits to eligible applicant final beneficiaries.
Sub-loans are usually available with maturities of a maximum of three to five years and grace period of up to 12 months, or in certain well justified cases of up to 24 months at a maximum. ETDB will seek co-funding from the participating financial institution in each on-lending, in order to strengthen the relationship between the intermediary and its clients, and to increase the intermediaries interest in the good performance of the credit line.
2.6 Soft Loan Financing
The Bank may extend soft loans in cases where any member state has faced critical threats to the health, safety, security or well being of a large community of its people over a wide geographical area either through natural disasters, or epidemics, or famine, or any other major emergencies.
In addition to the conditions mentioned in the above section, the Bank would ensure that the country itself or any international organization, acceptable to the Bank, has issued an appeal for assistance to the international community for relief and rehabilitation.
The financing provided by the Bank shall be utilized for purposes, which in the opinion of the Bank, are of high developmental priority for the area(s) concerned and fall within the framework of its mandate.
The Bank shall make arrangements to ensure that the proceeds of any financing are used only for the agreed purposes of rehabilitation and recovery, with due attention to considerations of economy and efficiency.
The Bank may provide financing in such forms and on such terms as it may deem appropriate, having regard to the economic position and prospects of the area or areas concerned and to the nature and requirements of the project. Specifically such loans might have:
a) a maximum tenor of 10 years including;
b) a maximum grace period of 3 years;
c) interest rate would be the same as that approved by the BoD for the sovereign guaranteed loans ( to be revised biannually), however, incremental pricing for tenor over five years would not be applicable; and
d) fees and charges not more than 0.2% of the total amount.
These would be public sector loans to be extended only to the government of the member state.
The Bank may use accelerated loan approval mechanisms to expedite the disbursement of these loans to the recipient government.
Maximum amount available to the Bank for soft loans would be same as the amount of reserves of the Bank.
By the Agreement the Bank is empowered to guarantee as primary or secondary obligor, loans for economic development projects or programmes. The Bank may provide full risk financial guarantee or (i) partial guarantee, where it provides all inclusive cover for a portion of debt service, or (ii) partial risk specific guarantees, where it covers specific risk events for all or part of the debt service. The guarantees can be provided either on conditional or unconditional basis.
Guarantees are one of the most important instruments available to the Bank to stimulate credit and capital markets in the region, mobilize additional capital, encourage the capital investments from outside the region and provide facilities otherwise unavailable on reasonable terms. Operations involving guarantees are appraised, processed and supervised in the same manner as those involving direct credit extensions and are subject to the same limits and requirements.
A Guarantee is a contract through which a third party (the guarantor) who is not a party to a contract between two others, undertakes to compensate the beneficiary for a specific liability of its client (principal/guaranteed), in case the conditions that trigger the call on the guarantee are met, at the demand of the beneficiary, depending on the stipulations of the contract. Guarantees do not provide a complete procedure for effecting payments or granting credit. Guarantees are off balance sheet obligations of the issuer, known also as “credits by signature”. The obligation is most of the times irrevocable and obligatory where and when the conditions stated in the guarantee contract are met.
Guarantees are provided by banks at the request of their clients in favor of the beneficiary. The guarantee obligation is secondary to the primary obligation of the person whose performance has been guaranteed. On most occasions, the entity in whose favor the guarantee has been issued has to prove to the guarantor that default has occurred, but calls may as well be made on demand. It is recommended that guarantees be drafted in conformity and including provisions of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Uniform Rules for Demand Guarantees or the Uniform Rules for Contract Bonds, as appropriate.
How Guarantees Generally Work
1. When the initial commercial contract between two parties is negotiated one party requires the issue of a guarantee in its favor, and the other party contacts a bank or other financial institution with a request/application to this effect.
2. The form and content of the guarantee is agreed upon, to the extent possible. In most instances the form and the general structure of the content are set by regulations (national regulations in some instances, rules issued by the ICC in other).
3. The bank’s client signs a Letter of Indemnity authorizing the issuing bank to debit its account/execute the security if a claim is made.
4. Although the guarantee (demand) is an independent instrument from the underlying contract, reference to the contract is recommended in order to avoid potential unjustified calls on the guarantee.
5. The issuing bank may require the client to provide adequate security/collateral of acceptable realizable value and liquidity prior to the issuance of the guarantee. At the same time, as payment on behalf of the beneficiary by the issuing bank turns the guarantee into a loan to the client, repayment method and maturity should also be agreed upon prior to the issuance of the guarantee.
6. The parties must agree the maximum amount for which the guarantee may be called. The date of effectiveness and the event/document triggering the entry into force are agreed upon. Also, the parties must agree on the date when, or by which, the guarantee is valid and may be called.
7. The beneficiary may be required to produce evidence of specific default, which may include presentation of acceptable third party certificate of default.
8. When the beneficiary calls the guarantee, if within the validity period and after verification it appears that he is acting in good faith and rightly claims the benefit of the guarantee, the issuing bank makes the payment in the amount agreed.
9. Following payment of the guarantee the bank seeks reimbursement from the client on the terms and conditions agreed in the contract.
Front-end Commission: This fee, typically charged at the time of signing, covers the administrative costs.
Exposure Fee: This is either: (i) a flat fee; or (ii) a periodic, pro rata temporis, fee, which is usually payable every quarter, and covers the risk borne by the bank. This is often referred to as the Premium.
Commitment Fee: This is a fee covering the capital allocation cost, and is payable for any undisbursed or uncancelled portion of the guarantee for the period between entry into force and expiry dates.
Interest cost: The amount the client owes to the issuing bank for the period between payment of claim under the guarantee and the repayment date.
Types of Guarantees
The most important and frequently used guarantees are the following:
It is usually required in international tenders, and plays the basic role of avoiding rejection of contracts by tendering companies when awarded to them, due to loss of interest. It also provides protection to the tendering companies against frivolous and speculative bids and also deter collusive bids being forfeit if the bidder withdraws its bid, or in the case of a successful bidder if he fails to sign the agreement or furnish the required performance security by a pre-agreed date. The Bid Bond usually covers 1% to 5% of the value of the contract.
These are required following award of contract and guarantee that the applicant will complete the project correctly. Usually covers 5% to 10% of the value of contract, but may range up to 30% in complex projects.
Advance payment bonds
In cases of contracts extending over long periods of time, the contractor usually requires advance payment. The Advance Payment Bond covers the whole amount of the advance payment (usually 5% to 20% of the project cost).
Loan guarantees/project risk guarantees
A bank guarantee provides comfort to the lender that a loan will be repaid. It is most of the times used in lending by a bank located in another country than the borrower and the guarantee is provided by a bank acceptable to the lender situated in the country of the borrower.
Country risk guarantees
A country (sometimes called political) risk guarantee covers the lender against the risk of not being repaid in cases beyond the control of the borrower, but caused by the decision of authorities in the country where the borrower is located. Such risks include, but are not limited to, expropriations, declaration of moratorium on foreign debt, introduction of capital controls, exchange restrictions, etc. In some instances a Country Risk Guarantee may carve-out specified events, with full or partial coverage of guaranteed events.
Stand-by letters of credit (L/C)
A stand-by L/C is a form of demand guarantee issued by the bank of the provider of works, goods or services directly in favor of the beneficiary, and the stand-by L/C is confirmed by the bank of the beneficiary. However, most often the stand-by L/C is issued by the bank of the provider in favor of the beneficiary’s bank by way of counter-guarantee that backs a direct demand guarantee issued in favor of the beneficiary by the beneficiary’s bank.
Recommendations for Use of Guarantees
Guarantees are an effective instrument to mobilize additional resources to the region and to promote cross-country cooperation, and therefore must be used with proper consideration given to the promotion of these objectives. All project finance, trade finance or operations involving cross-country transfer of funds should qualify. On the one hand, this would ensure that guarantees would not come to play a dominant role in the Bank’s portfolio, but rather would function as a strategic instrument that would achieve ends such as resource mobilization, and increased trade flows and investment in the region. On the other hand, it would also mitigate the effects of possible moral hazard risks, that is the possibility that the negative event(s) covered by the guarantee may become a more likely outcome as a result of the existence of the guarantee.
The Bank may either provide all inclusive coverage for a portion of the financing involved in the operation or transaction, or it may provide partial risk specific guarantees, where it covers specific risk events for up to the entire amount of the financing involved in the operation or transaction. While it is possible to do both of these types of guarantees, from an incentive perspective it is preferable for the Bank to guarantee a portion of the entire amount of financing at risk, even if the events covered are comprehensive. By way of contrast, guarantee of the full amount of financing for a specific set of risks or sub-risks raises moral hazard dangers, as described above.
Practically, guarantees that could be undertaken by the Bank may include:
Country Risk Guarantees: Since these may cover up to 90% (or even 100% in certain cases) of specific risks, it is particularly important that the conditions triggering the calling of the guarantee should be fully and clearly specified in the contract.
Loan Guarantees: These may be used as a method to mobilize capital to the region at costs below those at which the Bank could itself obtain funding in the international capital and money markets.
Performance Bonds: These guarantees may be used as a way to promote complex projects in the region, which incorporate know-how and technology transfers.
3.2 Exposure and Pricing
The rules adopted by Basel Committee require capital backing for exposure directly in proportion to risk , making no distinction between the forms of instrument used to express the financial relationship.
Consistent with these rules, guarantees will be subsumed under the limits for single obligor.
Guarantee fee pricing depends on the guarantee’s specific coverage and risks. In general, the Bank faces the same processing and supervision costs on guarantees as on other credit instruments. It is the Bank's policy to price guarantee fees in line with the margins it would charge on comparable loans of equivalent risk.
The Bank provides a broad range of guarantees and can consider issuing conditional guarantees or counter-guarantees which fall short of a simple financial guarantee and which allows pricing at lower rates. Such guarantees might be used to apportion risk-sharing in a manner more attractive to other lenders without exposing the Bank to full equity risk.
The Bank’s basic guarantee commission and fee structure may consist of front-end fees, exposure and/or periodic guarantee fees and commitment fee components which are meant to provide the Bank with an adequate compensation for the risks assumed and administrative expenses incurred.
Front-end commissions are generally charged and payable at the time of signing of a Guarantee Agreement but not later than coming into force (effectiveness date); the amounts payable will depend on the actual administrative and other expenses incurred by the Bank on the arrangement stage.
Exposure fee is intended to compensate the Bank for the risk type[s] covered by the guarantee (e.g. country, project, currency, etc.). This fee is normally charged as a percentage of the value of the actual exposure of the Bank and may be payable (i) as a flat-charge fee at the time of disbursement or (ii) regularly at the time of interest payments to the lender. The flat-charge fee can vary from 1% to 8 %, while the periodic fee can be set at a range of 0.25%-6% p.a. depending on the scope of the guarantee.
In instances when funding is provided in a currency that has very high levels of annual inflation the rates mentioned above are considered as set in real terms; for the purpose of determining applicable nominal rates they will be adjusted for inflation in the country issuing the currency in which the guarantee is denominated.
The borrower shall be liable for any additional fees and expenses including those associated with the appointment of any independent consultant required by the Bank at any stage of the project development.
The Bank will gradually build up its capacity to provide its clients with a broad range of different forms of guarantees, but in all cases the maximum exposure must be known and measurable.
4. Equity investment
Under the Agreement, the Bank is empowered to make equity investments. As equity, all investments are ‘de facto’ denominated in local currency. They may, however, be recorded in hard currency terms using generally accepted international accounting principles. The investments denominated in hard currency may be possible if the local legislation permits it and generally in cases when the target company has foreign currency based businesses. Foreign exchange risks associated with equity investments will be monitored and hedged when possible.
The Bank may make equity investments in a variety of forms. They are primarily direct investments in the form of common or preferred shares. These shares reflect the value of the investee company and thus often involve a currency risk for the Bank. Foreign exchange risk from equity investments is monitored and, when hedging instruments are available at a reasonable cost, is minimized.
Provisioning decisions for equity investment will be based upon a case-by-case assessment of any deterioration in investment value in the case non-traded shares (the typical case). Since the Bank does not intend to be a permanent investor, an exit strategy is part of the initial investment plan and forms an explicit part of the project documentation. This strategy may be updated during the life of the investment.
Exit strategies take into account a variety of considerations. These include the completion of the Bank's role, the investment return, the method of exit as well as the impact on the company and the relevant country.
Decisions on equity exits are approved by the Board of Directors.
In its equity investments the Bank will never be acting or deemed to act as if holding or hold the control position. Therefore, the Bank manages its equity portfolio as a portfolio of financial assets and not as strategic investments, although in all cases the Bank will seek to be represented in the Board of the investee company. As such, it will normally be a practice that in each of its equity investment operations the Bank will require the participation of, and rely on, the co-investment with the strategic or professional financial investor[s] capable of bringing the country and sector expertise to the transaction and providing the reliable management quality acceptable to the Bank. The Bank will require that the issuing company spend the proceeds of the issue of shares for the objectives as approved by the Bank and specified in the legal documents signed on behalf of the investment.
The Bank’s equity investments may be made in a variety of forms, investing in existing or new ventures and special purpose companies. The Bank may subscribe to both common and preferred equity in the enterprises but in general as a result of private equity placements rather then public offering. The Bank may also make quasi equity investments in various forms, including but not limited to certain types of subordinated loans, debentures, income notes and redeemable preference shares.
The preferred instruments recommended to be used in the Bank’s operations and their main characteristics are:
This is the basic form of equity. It consists of shares of stock, giving the right to the holder to vote in the selection of directors/administrators and other important matters. Although the shareholder has the right to receive dividends, this right is not guaranteed. In case a corporation is liquidated, the claims of the shareholders come last, after secured and unsecured creditors, holders of bonds and preferred stock. Common stock has the most potential for appreciation, and offers most of profit to investors through capital gains (difference between the price of sale and price of acquisition).
This is a class of Capital Stock, which does not normally carry voting rights. It pays dividends and offers preference over common stock holders for payment of dividends. It has the advantage of offering a more stable stream of income, above an agreed minimum. It has the disadvantage of excluding holders from much of the decision making process, although they have unrestricted access to information.
There are a number of possible variations of preferred stock structures: (i) cumulative vs. non-cumulative: a past dividend of a non-cumulative preferred stock is usually gone forever, while for a cumulative preferred stock accumulates and must be paid before dividends on common stock; (ii) participating vs. non-participating: participating preferred stock allows holders to share in profits beyond declared dividend, along with common stock holders; (iii) fixed rate vs. adjustable rate preferred stock: the dividend on the preferred stock may be adjustable at payment date (quarterly semiannually or annually) based on changes on a selected money market instrument; (iv) convertible vs. non-convertible preferred stock: convertible preferred stock may be exchangeable for a stated number of common stock shares and therefore has a more volatile behavior compared to non-convertible preferred stock which behaves more like a bond. Combinations of above-mentioned variations are possible.
These are debt-equity hybrid products, which are exchangeable at maturity for common stock of a market value equal to the principal amount of the convertible debt instruments. If the holder of the instruments does not wish the common stock, the issuer must sell the common stock on behalf of the holder and pay to her/him the cash equivalent. A variation is represented by “equity commitment notes” whereby the issuer commits to redeem the notes with proceeds from issue of common stock.
Common Stock Equivalent
These are preferred stock, convertible bonds or warrants that binds the issuer to sell and the holder to buy common stock at a specified price or discount from market price at the maturity of the instrument.
This is a direct loan with characteristics similar to a “convertible bond”, which gives the right to the lender to purchase common stock issued by the borrower at a specified date or during a specified period, depending on the negotiated clauses of the Agreement, if a number of conditions included in the loan agreement are met.
4.2 Conditions for Investment
Equity investment, like other private sector activities, will first and foremost be assessed according to its eligibility qualifications and commercial viability. Equity should not be seen as a source of ‘soft’ funds or ‘cheap’ debt. Equity will only be invested when the Bank:
i) invests under terms of manageable risk and equal treatment for participating investors;
ii) perceives clear potential exit strategies;
iii) projects an acceptable internal rate of return to the equity investor.
Consistent with other operations, the Bank will look to invest equity when it provides ‘additionality’ to the transaction. This might result when the Bank:
i) provides support to other investors thus securing their involvement;
ii) promotes FDI between the member countries;
iii) facilitates the fulfillment of privatization policies;
iv) plays a constructive role in the enterprise and provides long-term stability to it during a period of transition and change.
All equity invested by the Bank should be applied to the development of the project or entity. In general the Bank will wish to see its investment contributing to the new capitalization of the company rather then buying out the stakes from the existing shareholders of the company. The Bank’s participation will be significant enough to ensure adequate influence.
4.3 Exposure Limits
The Bank is not normally looking to take a controlling interest in any company. Typically the Bank would look to take an equity stake of 5-25%. However, in case of establishing a subsidiary, such limit may be exceeded. The total portfolio of the Bank’s equity investments would be within the exposure limits set in Part I of this document.
The total committed equity investment to any single obligor may not currently be greater than 5% of paid-in capital.
When considering an equity investment, the Bank will look for a market based rate of return, which will be measured as the internal rate of return on all equity cash flows. As a reference this would be the average rate of return for companies of similar profile in the same sector and facing the similar market conditions.
Although the rates for individual countries will vary, in general, the Bank will be looking for a real return on stand alone equity investment of about 20%. This rate of return may be seen as ambitious but in any particular case it should correspond with the rate of returns received by the other financial investors in the same or comparable projects in the market and it is provided here for guidance purposes.
4.5 Equity contributions
The Bank will always look for cash equity investment in the project from member countries’ investors and in case these are not available, reputable international investors from non-member countries. The Bank will be reluctant to invest in a project where the investors are investing only in kind. Cash equity from member countries companies should be sought but some ‘equity in kind’ will be acceptable. However, the Bank will be particularly cautious to ensure that all investors share proportionally both the benefits and risks of the investment.
4.6 Managing the Investment
The performance of equity investments will be supervised by the Operations Leader responsible for the operation. If required, he or she will represent the Bank on the board or be responsible for a designated representative. When represented on the board of an investee company, the Bank will not assume executive responsibilities but will seek to provide constructive advice. The Operations Leader will also be responsible to advise on when to exit the investment.
4.7 Exit Strategies
Because it is not the purpose of the Bank to be a long-term investor, a clearly defined exit strategy must be part of the initial investment plan, and must be updated during the life of the investment. The exit strategy for each investment shall be approved by the Board of Directors at the initial stage of the investment and no additional approval shall be needed at the time of exit. Strategies will take account of:
The catalytic role performed by the Bank must be seen to have been completed and an independent market value for the investment, whether successful or not, must have been established. This may require a two stage disinvestment, as it may not be considered appropriate for the Bank to withdraw completely from an investment at the time of a public flotation. The Bank will seek to exit within a medium-term horizon.
The Bank will seek to recycle its equity funds after a reasonable period. Subject to possible qualifications, the Bank’s general rule will be that it sells its equity holding when the market is favorable enough to enable it to do so with a reasonable return without jeopardizing the investment of the other shareholders.
ii) Investment gain
A short to medium term investment will typically have been made through a period of change. The return will generally be taken as an increase in capital value, as income will usually be substantially reinvested through the period. Return will be understood as a total return on the investment, i.e. capital gain and dividends received over the holding period of the investment. The return sought by the Bank in each case will be one appropriate to the risk and the actual change during the period, and though a 20% rate of return is targeted, a range of different results can be expected without necessarily requiring a shortening or lengthening of the period of investment.
iii) Method of exit
Exit will generally be achieved by a sale of the shareholding to a private entity at an appropriate valuation, through one of the following channels:
• sale to a trader/buyer;
• an initial public offering / private placement;
• a share placing (in the case of listed securities) within the stock market;
• sale to the management or workforce;
• sale to investment institutions such as pension or mutual funds;
• sale back to the company where allowable.
The Bank will give priority to more transparent and competitive sale methods if the other methods of sale do not clearly achieve a higher price.
5. Special Products
In case that the other financing instruments are not appropriate, the Bank may decide to undertake securities by subscribing to specific amounts and values issued by a public or a privately owned enterprise as a way to enhance an issuer’s access to international and domestic capital markets to broaden its financial sources.
The Bank's capital market activities include a range of banking activities aimed at promoting the access of borrowing member countries and corporations to the international and domestic capital markets.
Underwriting and other capital market services creating client credit exposure to the Bank are subject to the same internal approvals required for loan and equity investments.
5.2 Hedging Instruments:
The Bank may also provide its clients with financial management risk instruments either in association with other product or as stand-alone products to hedge their exposure to foreign exchange, interest rate, commodity price or any other project related financial risk. These instruments are used to the extent that the Bank is able to satisfactorily hedge the risks of such products in the financial markets.
5.3 Financial Leasing:
The Bank will gradually build up expertise for providing medium-term financial leverage of leasing transactions. This mechanism will be used as a facilitating vehicle for development of production and trade of capital goods in member countries.
A lease is a rental agreement under which the owner of an asset allows someone else to use it for a specified time (usually minimum one year) in return for a series of fixed payments. Firms lease as an alternative to buying capital equipment. The key actors involved in a leasing operation are: the lessor (the owner of the leased asset), the lessee (the user of the asset), and the manufacturer or the supplier of the asset. When a lease is terminated, the leased equipment reverts to the lessor, but the lease agreement often gives the user the option to purchase the equipment or take out a new lease.
How leasing works
A typical leasing operation is depicted in figure 1. The lessee identifies the equipment he needs and arranges the lease with the lessor, who pays the manufacturer for the equipment. The lessee receives the asset directly from the manufacturer or supplier, and commits to pay to the lessor a stream of rental payments. There are also cases when the manufacturer or distributor itself provides credit by entering directly into a leasing agreement with the lessee.
There are three main reasons for the attractiveness of leasing. The first is the short supply of other sources of investment finance, as banks are often reluctant to lend to enterprises. Bank loans tend to be unavailable, processed very slowly, or provided at very high interest rates. Second, leasing bypasses one of the key obstacles in bank lending: the slowness of courts in case of investee’s default. The lessor has the right to immediately (i.e. without recourse to courts) repossess the asset in case the lessee is in default. The third reason for leasing attractiveness is the favorable tax rules for leasing, especially for cross-border leasing. In financial leasing, for example, the goods remain the lessor’s property over the leasing period in a juridical sense, but in an accounting sense the goods appear on the lessee’s books, and therefore it is the lessee who receives the benefit of depreciation allowances, like a purchaser, but without first having paid in full for them. This will be applicable according to each countries' specifics.
Payment Ownership Title Leasing Contract
Lease rental payments
Figure 1. Key actors and steps in a typical leasing operation
Leasing agreements are usually lengthy documents that try to deal in advance with most of the events that might occur during the lifetime of the deal. The contract covers matters like identification of the equipment, the rental and the period over which rent is to be paid, protection of the lessor from liabilities arising from its legal ownership of the equipment, assurance that the lessor obtains good title to the goods, issues related to the registration of the asset (e.g. country of registration), maintenance obligations, liability insurance obligations, exhaustive lists of events constituting defaults and remedies thereof, issues related to termination and repossession of the asset in case of default, tax aspects (imposition of import duties or VAT, levying of withholding taxes on lease-backs, liability to local income tax etc.), required permits for operating the leased asset, etc.
Most leasing agreements stipulate that the lessor is allowed to sell the leased equipment to the lessee at the end of the agreement. This technique is referred to as lease receivables discounting. The lessee’s rights and obligations under the lease remain unchanged, whilst the lessor is provided with more flexibility in managing assets and raising liquidity.
Lessors and secured creditors may be treated differently in case the lessee goes bankrupt. If a company defaults on a lease payment, the lessor can recover the leased asset. If the leased asset is worth less than the future payments the lessee had promised and if there is no additional security, the lessor can try to recoup this loss, but in this case it must get in line with the unsecured creditors. However, in cases when the asset is considered essential to the lessee’s business and thus the lessor cannot recover it from the lessee, the bankrupt lessee can continue to use the asset, but it must also continue to make the lease payments to the lessor. This is different from the treatment of secured creditors, who are not paid until the bankruptcy process is completed.
Types of leasing operations
Leasing companies may be either independent undertakings or specialized subsidiaries of banks or other financial intermediaries. In some cases, leasing companies are setup by manufacturers and suppliers as a tool to stimulate their sales. In developing and transition countries, there are an increasing number of cases when leasing joint ventures are setup by a foreign leasing company and a local investor. Under such an arrangement, the know-how of the foreign leasing company is blended with the local operator’s knowledge of the local market.
Depending on the duration and on the possibility to cancel the leasing agreement, there are two main categories:
Those leases which are short-term and cancelable during the contract period, at the option of the lessee. Operational leases are an alternative to buying capital equipment. Firms lease instead of buying equipment if the equivalent cost of ownership of an asset (maintenance etc.) is higher than the rate the firm can get from a lessor. Operational leasing is not an appropriate activity for a bank.
Financial (capital) leases
Those leases which extend over most of the estimated economic life of the asset and which cannot be cancelled, or can be cancelled only if the lessee pays a penalty to the lessor. Financial leasing is an alternative to borrowing funds, as signing a leasing agreement is as if the lessee borrows money. The difference is that under a financial lease agreement – as opposed to purchasing equipment under a bank loan – the lessee gets the right to use the equipment, but the ownership title goes to the lessor, who finances the deal. Financial leasing may be offered as an instrument directly by a bank, although the established practice is to be carried out through a specialized financial institution.
Financial leases can play an important role in international project finance, for instance for financing erection of industrial plants, or imports of sizable industrial equipment, ships, fleets of rolling stock, trucks, aircrafts etc.
Some of the main advantages for the lessees under a financial lease are:
• leasing finance is usually obtained much faster than a bank loan (simpler and standardized application documentation required, faster assessment process, no business plan necessary, standardized – though lengthy – leasing agreement etc.);
• lease payments are tax deductible, while bank-financed equipment must be depreciated over a period of years and only the interest portion is deductible;
• in some instances, the leased equipment may be part of an investment in industrial capacity that attracts additional tax breaks and other investment incentives;
• VAT payment for leased equipment is spread over the life of the lease contract;
• leasing does not overburden the credit side of the lessee’s balance sheet, like a traditional loan would;
• leasing avoids having to tie up valuable working capital or credit lines and thus preserves liquidity for other purposes; however, since the lease agreement cannot be cancelled, there may be an obligation to show in the lessee’s off-balance sheet accounts the liability for future payments;
• leasing agreements do not usually incur “cross-collaterization”, while bank loans usually require pledge on other collateral assets, not just on the equipment to be acquired;
• leasing contracts do not usually impose restrictive covenants on future lessee’s borrowing, like a bank loan would; thus, under a lease agreement, the future financial flexibility of the lessee is less affected;
• lease payments can be tailored to fit the lessee’s cash flow pattern (e.g. seasonal changes etc.).
• the rules governing leasing denominated in hard currency (both domestic and cross-border) may allow tax deductions for foreign-exchange differences, which is a kind of indexation against inflation, advantageous for the lessee.
The boundary separating operational and financial leasing differs from one country to another.
Variation on the type of lease may also be made depending upon the number of investors who provide the financing for the leased equipment; there are two such broad types of leases:
Under which the lessor finances from its existing resources the purchase of the leased equipment.
This is particularly used for equipment with high value, when the lessor raises from other investors part of the funds required for purchasing the equipment. A typical case is the leveraged lease, the financial lease under which the lessor borrows part of the funds necessary to buy the leased asset, and uses the leasing contract as security for the loan. The lessee’s obligation to repayment will be solely against the lessor, whilst the investors’ right to repayment will be solely against the lessor.
Another variation can be made depending on the services provided by the lessor:
Full-service (or rental) leases
Under which the lessor ensures the maintenance and insurance and pays the property taxes due on the leased asset. Operational leases usually are full-service leases.
Under which the lessee maintains the asset, insures it and pays any property taxes due. Financial leases usually are net leases.
Another variation, depending upon the source of the asset, creates three types of leases:
This is the typical case: the lessee identifies the asset, arranges for the leasing company to buy it from the manufacturer or supplier, signs the leasing contract with the lessor and receives the equipment directly from the manufacturer or supplier.
The customer is offered lease finance by the manufacturer/supplier, as part of the vendor’s sales package. Therefore, under a vendor leasing, the customer obtains the equipment and the lease finance in a single purchase process. The lessor in this case is either supplier’s own leasing subsidiary or a separate leasing company with whom the supplier makes an arrangement, either directly or through a broker, for the provision of the lease finance to creditworthy customers.
Sale and lease-back leases
This is the case in which the owner of an asset sells it to a leasing company and leases the asset back from the new owner. The legal ownership of the asset is transferred to the lessor, whilst the right to use the asset remains with the lessee. Such arrangements are fit for instance in situations when a company acquires a new asset, but realizes that it would nevertheless prefer not to tie up the cash.
Variation of lease types may also be made on the basis of the value of the leased asset, with three broad categories of leasing operations: small ticket, medium ticket and big ticket leases.
Most lessees under small and medium ticket leasing are SMEs. However, thresholds for defining small, medium and big ticket leasing differ from one country to another and depend on the structure of the respective market.
Under a typical lease, the lease payments are even and the first lease payment is due immediately upon signature of the lease contract. However, variations on lease types can also be made on the basis of how payments are tailored to fit the lessee’s cash flow pattern. Some categories of tailored-payments leasing are listed below:
Under which the payments are lower early in the lease term, and higher later on. This type of leasing is attractive for cases when the output obtained by the lessee when exploiting the leased equipment is lower in the initial years.
Under which the lease payments are higher in the initial years, and decrease along the duration of the lease contract; such leases can be fit for instance when the lessee acquires equipment for special contracts, where usage is higher initially.
This is fit for lessees with seasonal business cycles: the lease payments are adjusted to the seasonal cash flow pattern of the lessee, and are higher in the peak business seasons and lower in the quiet seasons.
Under which the lessee is allowed some flexibility to skip one or more lease payments (based on skip-payment vouchers), without compromising its good credit record.
No-payment leases (or deferred rental leases)
These offer a payment moratorium (grace period) at lease inception, for instance to accommodate long business cycles or changeover or transfer to new technology, when new equipment is installed while the old equipment is still in use.
Under which, after making a series of regular payments to the lessor, the lessee pays a lump sum (a balloon rental) to the lessor, thus enabling him to fully recover the capital cost of the leased asset.
Another way of distinguishing types of leases looks at the location of the lessor and lessee:
When the lessor and the lessee are located in the same country. Domestic leases can also be used for financing an export-import deal, in situations when the supplier of equipment is located in another country than the lessee and lessor.
Cross-border leases (export leases)
When the lessor is located in one country and the lessee in another country. The supplier of equipment might be located either in another country than the lessee or in lessee’s country.
There are situations when an export credit subsidy and guarantee is available in the supplier’s country, while the supply of goods to the lessee is financed by a leasing agreement.
Recommendations and Guidelines for Use of Leasing
1. In line with ETDB’s mandate, leasing operations would have as an overall objective to contribute to the economic prosperity of the ECO countries, by providing long-term finance for capital investments in the region. In particular, the following goals should be pursued under ETDB leasing operations:
• promoting transfer of modern technology and know-how to ECO economies;
• supporting private sector development in general- including SMEs;
• facilitating and enhancing trade in capital goods among ECO countries.
2. Against this background, the Bank should offer mainly four leasing-related products:
• Equity in leasing companies;
• Credit lines/loans to leasing companies;
• Credit lines/loans to manufacturers, for vendor leasing;
• Direct net lease agreement.
3. Priority should be given to investment in companies:
• providing financial leasing for capital equipment with high development impact;
• with a good track record in leasing.
4. Potential clients for ETDB operations involving equity in, or loans to, leasing companies should be:
• joint-ventures between (i) leasing companies with successful international experience and (ii) local partners with good knowledge of the local market;
• local financial intermediaries with a good track record in leasing operations, expanding their business locally and/or to other countries, especially within ECO;
• specialized leasing branches established by manufacturers of capital equipment in ECO countries, as a mean to stimulate sales, either domestically or to other countries, especially within ECO.
5. Potential clients for ETDB operations involving credit lines to manufacturing companies, for vendor leasing, would be manufacturers of capital goods expanding their business locally and/or to foreign markets, especially to ECO countries.
6. As a general rule, minimum ETDB investment should be 1 million SDR for loans/credit lines as well as for equity investments.
7. To the extent possible, ETDB leasing operations will be based on standardized contract formats, in order to minimize administrative and transaction costs.
8. In exceptional circumstances, when: (i) the value of the asset is relatively high compared to the borrower’s financial strength; (ii) the asset represents an investment with a strong technological content, improves significantly the quality of output, increases productivity, is significantly reducing emissions or otherwise improving the environment, work safety and health conditions; (iii) the legal framework in the country of incorporation of the client is more favorable to lessors than creditors; and (iv) the Bank has good prospects of being refinanced by official financial institutions, the Bank may enter with the client into a direct net lease agreement. Such an agreement would take the form of lease receivables discounting, and may be either a single investor lease, or a multiple investor lease in case of very high value and complex asset provided that the Bank can secure additional financing through syndication. In this case the fixed asset is paid by the Bank to the supplier but is delivered directly to the client after all legal documents have been prepared, agreed, signed and entered into effect. Such an arrangement has the benefit that: (i) the Bank retains the ownership of the asset, and can repossess it immediately in case an event signifying default has occurred; (ii) the client operates, maintains, insures and pays any taxes due on the asset; (iii) no other security agreement is necessary; and (iv) at the end of the lease period the ownership right on the asset is transferred to the client.
The Bank may provide forfaiting opportunities for its clients normally through its trade finance facilities between the member countries.
Forfaiting is the process through which a company/seller obtains cash, thus refinancing its exports, by selling without recourse drafts, promissory notes, bills of exchange, deferred letters of credit, or any other negotiable instruments representing amounts due to the seller by its clients. The term “forfaiting” has its origin in the French language, where the term “Forfait” means surrendering rights without recourse.
Forfaiting is a form of medium term financing and can be used for both domestic and international transactions. However, it is mostly used as a form of medium term finance for import transactions of predominantly capital goods. Forfaiting provides to the exporter the same level of comfort as the confirmed documentary credit, with the additional benefit that it may stretch over extended periods of time, while documentary credit is used usually for short-term transactions of up to 360 days.
Although forfaiting still represents only a modest share of total trade financing, its use is growing rapidly, including in Eastern Europe. In recent years, forfaiting has assumed an important role for exporters who desire cash instead of deferred payments. Also there is a rapidly developing market in secondary trading, principally located in London. Accordingly, major banks are beginning to treat forfaited documents more as investment products rather than trade finance instruments.
How Forfaiting works
1. The exporter contacts its bank. The bank/forfaiter indicates its willingness to take the deal and also the likely terms, including the discount and the guarantee requirements. The discount offered by the forfaiter is usually higher than the interest the seller/exporter charges the buyer/importer.
2. The seller/exporter negotiates with the buyer/importer the terms of the contract, including tenure, method of payment (bullet, installments, etc), interest rate, and security requirements.
3. The forfaiter asks for full details of the transaction. These usually include, but are not limited to:
• Currency, amount and period of financing;
• Exporting country;
• Name and country of importer;
• Name and country of guarantor;
• Type of debt instrument to be forfaited (promissory note, bill of exchange, banker’s acceptance, etc);
• Form of security (aval, guarantee);
• The goods to be exported;
• Date of delivery of the goods;
• Date of delivery of the documents;
• Necessary authorizations and licenses;
• Repayment schedule;
• Type of repayment;
• Place of payment.
4. The forfaiter does full due diligence and commits to the deal, had it found the deal acceptable. It offers a fixed rate discount to the seller/exporter, that is valid over an option period up to the end of which the seller must decide whether will take the offer or not.
5. The seller/exporter starts final negotiations with the buyer/importer, which lead to the signing of the sale/export contract.
6. The seller/exporter accepts the forfaiter’s offer for discount of payment instruments. The forfait contract remains valid throughout the entire period of sales contract, period referred to as “commitment period”.
7. The buyer/importer obtains the security (aval, guarantee) from its bank or another guarantor acceptable to the forfaiter.
8. The seller/exporter ships the goods.
9. The buyer/importer presents documents and normally takes possession of the goods.
10. The seller/exporter presents the documents to the forfaiter who discounts the documents.
11. At payment date the forfaiter seeks payment from buyer/importer.
12. In case of non-payment, the forfaiter contacts the buyer/importer and the party providing the security and eventually exercises the security.
Option fee: For option periods between 24 hours and up to 6 months the forfaiter charges a “waiting fee”. This fee is used rather rarely and is charged for a commitment made by the forfaiter to discount the documents before the contract between the exporter and the importer is finalized. The period over which the fee is charged covers the difference between the moment the commitment is made and the moment the export contract is signed.
Commitment fee: For the entire commitment period, applicable to the amount not yet discounted upon presentation of previously agreed documents.
Termination fee: Charged by the forfaiter in case it agrees with the seller/exporter’s demand to terminate a forfaiting agreement. The seller can make this request at any time during the commitment period and the forfaiter may agree or disagree with the request. The forfaiter may not terminate the forfait contract from its own initiative.
Discount rate: This includes interest margin calculated on the underlying cost of funds, interest rate risk, country risk, and possibly currency risk (if there is a difference between the currency advanced to the seller/exporter and that of payment by the buyer/importer, although such a procedure is unusual). Normally the interest equivalent of a discount rate is higher than the corresponding interest rate charged on similar transactions financed through outright debt.
Guidelines and Recommendations for Use of Forfaiting
Forfaiting is a proven method of providing fixed rate medium term export finance for international trade transactions in capital goods. It is most appropriate for export of capital goods, with payment stretching over periods between 1 and 5 years, and the optimum transaction size is between a minimum of approximately US$ 250,000 and a maximum of up to US$ 1 – 1.5 million. The mentioned transaction size refers to an individual document; the value of the entire forfaiting operation may go up to the single obligor limit and may include several documents.
Generally, export receivables are guaranteed by the importer's bank. This allows the forfaiter to discount "without recourse" to the exporter, thus taking the transaction off the exporter's balance sheet. This can have important benefits for the exporting company's key financial ratios.
Typically the importer's obligations are evidenced by accepted bills of exchange or promissory notes which a bank avals, or guarantees. The notes are then said to be avalized. Equally the receivable may take the form of a term draft drawn under documentary letters of credit.
Forfaiting is often applied where the exporter is selling capital goods, and having to offer export finance up to five or six years. The forfaiter will then quote a price being a discount rate to be applied to the paper. It is usually possible to have a fixed price quoted, and the exporter is thus able to lock into his profit from the outset.
There is an active secondary market for avalized export finance paper in London, and this market can be accessed on behalf of clients, to seek financing solutions. ETDB will only enter into transactions with the beneficiary of the payment in whose favor the document was issued. The secondary market will only be used in cases when the Bank believes it is cost effective to sell documents it has forfaited, and not for purchase.
Due to its characteristics as trade finance instrument and investment product, forfaiting is an instrument that ETDB should employ, when warranted. It is the appropriate instrument to use for promotion of intra-regional trade in capital goods, and thus help achieve the Bank’s mandate. ETDB may act either as the forfaiter of the exporter or as the avalizer/guarantor of the importer, as appropriate.
Discounting is a procedure through which a company is offered the same real cash flow benefits that factoring offers, but without the client’s obligation of losing control of the sales ledger. It is usually a confidential service. In contrast to factoring, discounting does not require establishment of a separate specialized team to carry it out. As the discounter does not purchase the ledger from the client, the discounter is under no obligation to follow up, and collect, the accounts receivable. Discounting is a facility/service offered by banks and factoring companies to well-established profitable businesses with an effective and professional sales ledger administration system (accounts receivable administration and collection).
How Discounting works
1. The client sends his customers the payment documents.
2. The client sends a sales daybook listing to the discounter.
3. The discounter pays up to 100% of the payment document values, less charges, to the client.
4. The client runs the sales ledger, telephone calls, statements, etc.
5. The client collects payment from the customers, transfers the payments into a trust bank account and notifies the discounter.
6. The discounter collects the funds from the trust bank account and releases the balance, if any, less charges, to the client.
In most cases there is an existing sales ledger in place at the time when a discounting agreement commences. In this case the discounter can make available funding of up to 100% of the qualifying book receivables, which in many cases can provide a healthy cash injection, even when existing bank overdrafts have to be repaid to the discounter.
Service charges (often known as "commission charges") are usually lower than for factoring due to the fact that the sales ledger administration is still the responsibility of the client. Often a discounter will try to match or beat the rate currently being charged by the client's bankers.
There are two main charges in invoice discounting agreements:
Service Fee: This is a percentage charge on the discounted documents value, usually of 0.125% to 1.50%.
Cost of Money: This is an interest charge on the funds advanced by the discounter, usually of 1.0% to 2.5% over bank base rate.
Guidelines for Use of Discounting
The items below are not exhaustive and it is always the discounter that will make the final decision on what is suitable for it or not:
1. Mainly Limited Companies, but is possible for Sole Traders and Partnerships;
2. Turnover range US$500,000 up to US$200 million;
3. Can be Confidential or Disclosed;
4. Profitable Trading history preferred;
5. Discounting on each single sales ledger not to exceed more than 20%;
6. Funding levels usually from 50% to 100% of discounted document value;
7. Trade credit sales only can be discounted, not debts to the public;
8. The business must be able to demonstrate good cash management and accounts receivable collection management systems;
9. Both domestic and export receivables can be funded.
Concluding Remarks and Recommendations
Discounting is the fastest growing sector of the sales linked finance market. As such, the ability to package deals with this product is becoming increasingly required, and the instrument is in rising demand in ETDB Member Countries. It is of greatest interest to businesses which have to import or purchase domestically large quantities of finished goods, for which they have confirmed orders from creditworthy customers.
Discounting is becoming increasingly used alongside stock finance, term loans and trade finance to offer a full asset based lending package, often with very attractive cost structures for the prospective clients. However, this instrument is less suitable for ETDB, as the regional cooperation or development impact of such operations is usually difficult to identify.
The instrument is therefore more appropriate in trade finance operations, as a form of short-term credit. In particular it can be very helpful as part of a funding package for a new start business dealing with financially stronger customers. Trade Financiers are usually looking for minimum order values of US$ 50,000 and preferably repeat business throughout the year. They basically step into the clients’ shoes and purchase the goods initially and handle the financial process until they receive payment directly from the end customer. The Trade Financier then deducts the original purchase costs plus their charges and the balance is paid back to the client. As the process is a transactional one, based very much on the strength of the end user, this facility is particularly useful for businesses whose own balance sheet is not strong enough to support the level of funding required. ETDB could use this instrument selectively. It is recommendable for the Bank to use it in conjunction with other trade finance products, discounting representing a relatively small portion of the financing package.
6.1 Trade Finance
Trade Finance is a distinct core business of the Bank and deserves separate treatment due to its relative importance in the Bank operations as specifically mentioned in Chapter 1 of the Agreement under the titles of Purpose, Functions and Powers with the aim to finance and promote intra-regional trade among the Member Countries and facilitate increased volume of exports from Member Countries within and outside the region.
Therefore, ETDB Trade Finance Program provides broad range of most comprehensive products to finance and promote trade of goods, produced in the Member Countries, within and outside the region with the objectives;
i) to promote further development of the regional economic cooperation and increase the volume of trade between the Member Countries;
ii) to assist Member Countries to diversify exports and to help improve competitiveness of regional products, especially for capital goods; and
iii) to promote production and exportation of goods with increased value added content, to generate foreign exchange and promote job creation;
With this in mind, the ETDB’s export financing facilities provided to suppliers/exporters may support exports from all Member Countries destined for countries inside as well as outside the Member Countries, while import financing facilities only support imports from the Member Countries.
The Bank may also provide finance for imports of following items from non-ECO member countries;
. Capital equipment (machinery and relevant spare parts), raw material (mainly energy related items such as oil, gas, coal, etc.) and intermediary goods which would enhance competitive advantage or greater exports, intra-regional trade and job creation.
. Health related items which are necessary for basic humanitarian needs.
Except for health related items, the Bank shall only finance up to 85% of the value of a transaction and the total import transactions from the non-ECO member countries to be financed by the ETDB under the trade finance program shall not exceed 50 per cent of the year end average outstanding of the previous 3 years trade finance operations of the Bank.
ETDB Trade Finance Program use a number of instruments described in this document (e.g. direct loan, lines of credit, guarantees, discounting, forfaiting, and leasing) designed to address funding needs of suppliers/exporters and /or buyers/importers of Member Countries.
Trade Finance business will predominantly be conducted through selected financial intermediaries (such as commercial banks, leasing companies, ECAs and development banks) within the framework of a credit facility agreement signed between the Bank and financial intermediary for the following reasons:
1. Most Trade Finance operations will normally require a financial intermediary to perform due diligence on the beneficiary (local supplier/exporter or buyer/importer) and assume that beneficiary risk - the ETDB has limited resources to reach beneficiaries in Member Countries, perform due diligence on them and assume the related risks.
2. Most individual Trade Finance transactions are small in size and direct ETDB involvement would be prohibitively expensive for the Bank.
3. Funding will be available for utilization of beneficiaries at all time during the effectiveness of the facility, while direct financing could be provided only after signing a loan agreement following completion of ETDB Operations Cycle.
4. In the interest of facilitating economic development in member countries, the ETDB will support local financial intermediaries and help them grow, rather than remove local financial institutions from a transaction by operating directly with the beneficiary.
5. The ETDB intention is to work with local financial institutions and support their development and capabilities to provide better service and a broader range of financial products.
6. The Bank will sign a loan agreement for each facility and will be able to set financial, affirmative and negative covenants on each loan agreement in order to better mitigate its risk, rather than relying on a guarantee or payment obligation (such as L/C, promissory note and draft) of such financial intermediary.
Selection and monitoring of the financial intermediaries will be made in accordance with the Guidelines for Appraisal and Selection of Financial Intermediaries.
Methods of payments, which are eligible under trade finance operations, will vary depending on the type of facility.
Co-financing may also be undertaken with other reputable, qualified financial institutions.
The Bank will typically consider Trade Finance operations through financial intermediaries of a minimum amount set at SDR 1 million. This minimum amount reflects the Bank’s commitment to the SME sector and takes into account that some ETDB eligible financial intermediaries in Member Countries are relatively small.
The Bank will also consider direct applications to finance exports or imports of interested beneficiaries of a minimum amount set at SDR 1 million.
Trade Finance facilities can be either short -term with a tenor of up to 360 days or medium/long-term with a tenor of up to 5 years. In exceptional circumstances long- term tenors may be extended for up to 10 years.
Trade Finance operations shall comply with the relevant Bank policies, strategies, guidelines, methodologies, rules and regulations.
Transactions involving goods mentioned in the ETDB’s Negative List of Goods (including the Bank’s Environmental Exclusion List) will be excluded from financing.
The Bank’s Procurement Principles and Rules are applicable to trade finance activities, but most such activities will fall under section five which states that where Bank funds are used through financial intermediaries and the tenor of financing is less than four years the principles and rules are relaxed to the extent that procurement shall be carried out according to sound commercial practices and on an arm’s length basis.
While Trade Finance instruments can cover up to 100% of a transaction, the ETDB will encourage risk sharing and co-financing when appropriate.
Depending on the risk involved, the Bank may provide unsecured and secured trade finance facilities and may ask for different kinds of collateral, as stipulated in the “Security Under Banking Operations” document and as the transaction may require under sound banking principles.
Depending on the borrower the Bank may provide uncommitted and committed facilities and have exposure to either financial intermediary or exporter/importer. In order to effectively utilize the credit facilities the Bank will mostly provide committed loan facilities to financial intermediaries, while providing uncommitted financing for guarantee facilities to selected financial intermediaries in the Member Countries. In the case of guarantee facilities the Bank’s exposure will be calculated on the aggregate amount of guarantees issued and outstanding under the facility.
The Bank can offer fixed or floating interest rates for trade finance facilities, consisting of a base rate and a margin charged on the outstanding amount of the loan. In addition to above, fees and commissions that will vary depending on the products, will be charged.
On the other hand, guarantee fees will be charged as a percentage of the guarantee amount per annum and will vary depending on the risk involved.
The pricing of Trade Finance loans and guarantees shall be determined in accordance with relevant documents approved by BoD.
6.1.1 Export Finance Facilities
The purpose of the export finance facilities is to provide financial support to suppliers/exporters in the Member Countries to enable them to perform export transactions. Under this category, the Bank offers Pre-export Finance, Single/Multiple Supplier Refinancing Facilities and also Export Finance Facility Guarantees.
ETDB will pay due consideration to promoting exports of goods with significant local content; such preference, in particular in operations financed through financial intermediaries, shall be stated by the Bank to its client/intermediary who has the subsequent responsibility to comply with the appropriate specific provisions of local legal requirements regarding minimum local content, if any. Typically, ETDB will encourage more of local content for the eligibility of its export finance facilities.
The loans may cover both pre-shipment and/or the post-shipment periods of an export transaction.
Typically, suppliers/exporters loans will be short-term. Longer tenors may apply to cases where traded goods have long manufacturing periods (e.g. capital goods) and /or trade contracts terms provide deferred payment options.
126.96.36.199 Pre-export Finance Facility
Pre-export Finance Facility is designed to provide financing to suppliers/exporters in advance necessary to produce manufactured goods, commodities and agricultural products for export and also extend deferred payment terms to their buyers, if needed.
The rationale is that while companies in the Member Countries may be able to secure export contracts, they often do not have the financial support necessary to produce for export or accept deferred payment terms. Once the exporting company has signed a contract, it must have the means to purchase the materials and other resources necessary to perform under the contract. The ETDB Pre-export Finance loans address the needs of suppliers/exporters for necessary funding.
• Pre-export Finance Facility is typically available through selected financial intermediaries, normally banks and export credit agencies (ECAs), located in the Member Countries, to which the ETDB has extended a Pre-export facility.
• The intermediary in its turn on-lends to exporting companies located in the Member Countries. The Bank assumes the risk on the intermediary for which a Pre-export facility has been established, while the intermediary assumes all the related risks of the beneficiary.
• ETDB Pre-export Facility will be committed and could be extended on revolving basis.
• Where there is no Pre-export Finance Facility of ETDB available or the facility amount is not sufficient, ETDB will examine requests from end beneficiaries directly for financing a large-scale one-off export transaction when such request meets the conditions outlined in this document.
• Suppliers/exporters may utilize the funds under the facility within a period not exceeding the maximum tenor of the facility. Shipment should take place within the tenor of relevant disbursement. Repayment of each disbursement will be made at the end of the tenor of relevant disbursement by the financial intermediary irrespective of whether the funds have been repaid by the beneficiary or not.
• The ETDB Pre-export Finance Facility provides financing to transactions when the goods being exported are produced in the Member Countries and comply with the minimum local content provisions set above.
• The Bank will accept all methods of payment under the Pre-export Finance Facility transactions financed through Financial Intermediaries. The Bank reserves the right to monitor transactions and may require information from the intermediary in this regard.
188.8.131.52 Single/Multiple Supplier Refinancing Facility
The purpose of this Facility is to help suppliers/exporters in the Member Countries sell capital goods in large amounts to markets in other Member Countries and elsewhere with medium and possibly long-term credits. These transactions can include goods such as heavy equipment, machinery, vehicles, and other capital goods.
The ETDB’s Single/Multiple Supplier Refinance Facility is a mechanism for export promotion. The supplier/exporter is provided financing by ETDB against deferred payment receivables, either directly from ETDB (Single Supplier Refinancing Facility) or via a qualified financial intermediary (the Multiple Supplier Refinancing Facility). The Facility enables companies in the Member Countries to enter markets with medium and long-term supplier credits that would otherwise be closed without such financing.
This Facility also enables exporters in Member Countries to compete with other exporting countries in international bids/tenders where credit plays an important role in securing the contract.
• In most cases, Supplier Refinancing Facility would be offered to exporters (operating in Member Countries) through selected financial intermediaries under the Multiple Supplier Refinancing Facility. As such, the ETDB will take the intermediary risk. The Intermediary will take the buyer risk, but it is most likely that the buyer’s payment obligation will be insured (likely by an ECA) or guaranteed by the buyer’s government or an acceptable bank.
• While ETDB’s Facility is not covering risk for the financial intermediary it provides financial intermediary with the liquidity necessary to provide financing against deferred payment instruments issued by buyer (e.g. Promissory Notes).
• In the event a financial intermediary is not comfortable assuming the related risks, the buyer could apply for support under ETDB’s Buyer Credit Facilities in order to get the financing required.
• The financial intermediary will, with ETDB Supplier Refinancing Facility, provide financing to the exporter against deferred payment receivables.
• Depending on the goods involved, the buyer may be required to provide a down payment (normally 15% of the FOB value, which is often financed by a commercial bank). The ETDB’s Supplier Credit Facility will finance up to 85% of the FOB value when an advance payment is required. In the event no advance payment is required, the ETDB can finance up to 100% of the transaction.
• Supplier credit involves financing for medium (and in exceptional cases) long terms.
• The ETDB will determine the appropriate tenor of the credit based on the following factors:
i) Nature of goods to be exported and anticipated life-span
ii) Extent of foreign competition
iii) Contract value
iv) Importer’s country risk
v) Condition of the market
• The Single Supplier Refinancing Facility is limited to transactions involving amounts of at least SDR 1 million. Minimum amounts eligible for support under the Multiple Supplier Refinancing Facility shall be determined subject to discussions with each intermediary.
184.108.40.206 Export Finance Facility Guarantee
ETDB will accept requests for providing Guarantees with the aim to guarantee the payment obligation of a selected financial intermediary in a Member Country for export finance loans extended by international banks, – typically an IFI or national financial institution/agency.
Such guarantees will be issued to cover the country risk and commercial risk of a financial intermediary to enable them to obtain external financing in competitive terms, which otherwise would not be available without ETDB’s guarantee.
ETDB provides import financing typically through financial intermediaries to buyers/importers in a Member Country to finance multiple contracts for imports of commodities, capital goods and manufactured products originating from other Member Countries.
These Loans are provided to increase competitiveness of goods produced in Member Countries and may improve the competitive position of manufacturing exporters in the region. To compete effectively, Member Country exporters are quite often called to offer buyers financing at par with the financing offered by competitors outside the ETDB region.
In case medium/long-term tenors are required, these will be determined on a case-by-case basis using non-exclusively the following criteria:
i) Nature of goods to be imported and anticipated life-span
ii) Extent of foreign competition
iii) Contract value
iv) Country risk
v) Condition of the market
220.127.116.11 Multiple Buyer Credit Facility
The facility provides financial support to buyers/importers in a Member Country to enable them to import goods from other Member Countries.
This Facility aims to:
i) increase volumes of trade among member states
ii) promote further development of regional economic cooperation
iii) increase the competitiveness of regional products
iv) promote the trade of capital goods, which have a strong development impact, such as machinery, manufacturing equipment, durable consumer goods and raw materials.
The Multiple Buyer Credit Facility (MBCF) will be offered through loans extended to financial intermediaries (commercial banks, leasing companies or export credit agencies) for the purposes of providing buyer credits to numerous importers in a given Member Country. For all the facilities the bank will sign an agreement. ETDB will assume risk of the financial intermediary technically accepting the country risk and commercial risk related to the respective intermediary while the beneficiary (importer) risk will be taken by the financial intermediary.
Both pre-shipment and post-shipment periods are covered under this facility for short and medium term transactions. Multi-Buyer Credit Facilities will be committed and could be extended on revolving basis. It is written at the beginning the Bank will reserve the right to request and obtain any information in order to properly and effectively monitor a transaction.
The Bank will offer two types of Multiple Buyer Credit Facilities, depending on the requirements and established business practice of the selected financial intermediary:
1. First type of MBCF will require the financial intermediary to issue documentary credits for the relevant underlying import transaction and to nominate ETDB as the reimbursement bank in the letter of credit. When the letter of credit is issued, the financial intermediary will request ETDB to pre-approve it in order to commit support for the transaction. If it is required ETDB may issue its reimbursement undertaking to claiming bank, which is a type of guarantee to secure the payment obligation of issuing bank under the L/C. Once the import transaction has taken place, the exporter will present the relevant documents to its advising bank in the country of export, which will present them to the financial intermediary that had issued the letter of credit. Upon receipt of claim from the advising bank, the ETDB will disburse the funds equal to the value of goods shipped directly to the advising bank and inform the financial intermediary. The financial intermediary will repay the ETDB’s loan as per the repayment schedule of the facility.
2. Second type of MBCF may accept all methods of payment for the underlying import transaction. The financial intermediary will present requests for disbursements to the Bank in accordance with the terms of the MBCF agreement. The Bank will make the disbursements in advance for realization of import transaction and verify the use of funds for each disbursement on the basis of supporting documents to be provided by the financial intermediary to ensure the compliance of the transactions to criteria established in the MBCF agreement. The financial intermediary will repay each disbursement at its maturity date.
18.104.22.168 Single Buyer Credit Facility
To provide medium and (in exceptional cases) long-term financial support to Member Country beneficiaries (buyers/importers) requiring large-value supply contracts and purchases of industrial machinery and other capital goods produced in another Member Country.
Requirements for these kinds of large purchases are substantial in the region since many local banks have limited resources/liquidity to offer medium and long term financing, and exporting companies are not able to get the supplier/exporter credit support they require from banks.
In considering financing any single, one-off, large-scale import, it is unlikely that the ETDB would assume direct buyer risk, and adequate security may be required. Such security may include:
i) Letter of Credit or cash for advance (down) payment
ii) An additional Letter of Credit or Guarantee from an acceptable bank in the importer’s country or in a third country
iii) A sovereign Guarantee
The ETDB may also provide a Single Buyer Credit Facility to a financial intermediary, through which a sub-loan would be provided to the buyer – in this case the financial intermediary would assume the buyer risk and the ETDB would assume the country risk and the commercial risk of the financial intermediary.
In the event an advance payment is required, and no other financing is available, ETDB will be in position to cover up to 100% of the transaction value under the facility.
Appropriate tenors are determined by the following factors:
i) Nature of the goods to be imported and anticipated life-span
ii) Extent of foreign competition
iii) Contract value
iv) Importer’s country risk
v) Condition of the market
22.214.171.124 Import Finance Guarantee
Import Finance Guarantees are substitute for provision of credit intended to help increase trade volumes among Member Countries by providing country risk and commercial risk cover on acceptable short-term trade finance instruments of issuing banks in Member Countries.
ETDB Import Finance Guarantees may benefit eligible Member Countries beneficiaries by providing:
• cover for commercial and country risks
• improved competitiveness
• improved cash flow position
• access to deferred payment terms.
ETDB Import Finance Guarantees only apply to trade finance instruments issued by selected eligible banks within the Member Countries.
ETDB may guarantee the following trade finance instruments:
• avaled drafts or promissory notes;
• stand-by letters of credit;
• letters of credit.
The Bank assumes payment risk (country risk and/ or commercial risk) of the bank issuing the trade finance instrument, either in full or up to an agreed percentage. ETDB will normally encourage risk-sharing with confirming banks and trim its pricing according to the amount of risk being assumed by the confirming bank.
6.1.3 Trade Finance Facility
ETDB offers to eligible financial intermediaries the possibility to apply and obtain combined Trade Finance Facilities (TFF) enabling them to provide credits to both suppliers/exporters and buyers/importers under a single loan agreement. In the case of TFF the Bank will provide loans to financial intermediaries to on-lend for both pre-shipment/post-shipment financing to exporters as well as pre-shipment and post-shipment financing for importers, accepting all methods of payment for the underlying transactions. In the TFF structure, the Bank will combine the Pre-export Facility and Multiple Buyer Credit Facility under a single limit extended to the selected financial intermediary and the relevant TFF agreement will establish all terms and conditions of the facility. Terms and conditions and use of funds under TFF will replicate Pre-export Facility and Multiple Buyer Credit Facility characteristics.
7. Financial Intermediaries
The Bank will work with selected financial intermediaries in countries of operations where such delegation of responsibility assists the Bank in serving a market segment more efficiently or effectively than the Bank might be able to do directly. The Bank establishes the criteria and procedures for the appraisal and selection of financial intermediaries. In most cases, this would mean that intermediaries for both credit and equity would be those better able to reach and assist target clients including small and medium size enterprises in these countries, but there may be selected other cases which are appropriate for such channels.
The Bank shall deal with financially sound intermediaries, which are locally incorporated and are controlled by local and/or regional interests, when possible. The Bank will select intermediaries with utmost care. Eligible as intermediaries are well established firms having the leading position in the local market. The intermediary must be incorporated in accordance with the local legislation, fully licensed by the local authorities for this particular line of business and financially in good shape. An excellent track record of the company and its management is required. The Bank will perform due diligence, financial and managerial assessment, of any such intermediary which will form the principal basis for selection of intermediary as a vehicle for indirect lending or investment by the Bank. As a general rule the Bank will normally limit its use of financial intermediaries for on-lending purposes to situations where it is costly or practically not feasible to provide the effective assistance to the final borrowers directly, to process credit application and loan documentation and to administrate the credit portfolio.
The Bank seeks to ensure that financial intermediaries are in a good standing with the supervisory authorities of the country of origin and apply operating and financial principles consistent with the Bank’s own approach, particularly with regard to ensuring sound banking principles.
7.2 Exposure as a Lender and Investor
Since exposure will be to the intermediary itself and through it to the credit quality of its portfolio, intermediaries will have to have a track record of successful lending in these or similar markets and with similar clientele, as determined by analysis of their existing portfolios, their internal credit policies, controls and procedures. Successfulness of the previous experience with other IFI’s will be sought. Where new branches or operations are involved, the commitment of head office or similar management of the supervision of the branches or business will be critical.
The intermediary must have a significant local presence, giving it a first-hand capability to develop, assist and manage local business. The quality of management and staff of this local presence will be critical.
It will be normal to require the intermediary to assume a portion of the credit risk on each transaction. The Bank may require that it approves, or provides no objection, on each loan or equity commitment or commitments above specified limits or in case of other defined circumstances.
One of the key tasks of the Bank will be to mobilize foreign and local capital, both public and private, for loans and guarantees in its countries of operation. Co-financing is one of the most effective ways to mobilize such funds, since co-financiers can take full advantage of the Bank’s advisory capacity, its financing and project evaluation activities as well as its in-depth knowledge of the economic strategies of its countries of operation.
Co-financing, especially from private sources, often results in borrowers obtaining financing to which they would not normally have access and in negotiating more favorable terms (e.g. lower interest rates or fees or longer maturates) from other lenders. In short, through co-financing, the Bank will be able to increase the volume and quality of loans to its borrowers and to diversify their financing sources.
The Bank may interact with a variety of other lenders including multilateral development banks, bilateral financial institutions, export-credit agencies, official lenders or guarantors, commercial banks, and other financial intermediaries. Examples of the different forms of interaction with other lenders include:
i) Joint Co-financing
The Bank’s and the co-financiers’ loans are used to finance, in some agreed proportions, the same set, or package, of goods and services required for a project. This implies that the procurement of these goods and services is done by the borrower in accordance with the Bank’s procurement rules.
The loans will usually be made under separate loan agreements, with appropriate cross references and optional cross default clauses.
ii) Parallel Co-financing
The Bank’s and the co-financiers’ loans are used to finance separate packages of goods and services. In this case, the packages financed with the Bank’s loan will have to be procured under a procedure satisfactory to the Bank’s rules, while the procurement of the other packages financed by the co-financiers’ loan may be done under procedures agreed between the borrower and the co-financiers as long as those procedures ensure economy and efficiency.
The loans will be made under separate loan agreements, often with appropriate cross references and optional cross default clauses.
This technique can be employed to bring in other lenders and transfer a portion of risk from the Bank to these lenders, thereby allowing them to partially finance the initial loan or increase their commitment. The participations lead by the Bank may involve variety of structures. The Bank may agree to make a loan to finance an operation but provides its commitment only to a portion of the loan with the other commercial banks subscribing for the balance. The Bank may also, sell its participation in the loan after commitment or even after disbursement to one or several commercial banks without recourse.
In this co-financing technique the Bank joins a syndicate of commercial banks led by itself or one of those banks under the documentation prepared by the lead bank. The Bank and the other members of the banking consortium undertake to lend specified shares of the total loan amount and the debt service is shared among all the lenders on a pro rata basis.
Similar to the participation technique mentioned above the Bank may fully underwrite a loan and later sell part of it to commercial banks or other financial institutions. However, in contrast with the similar participation technique the Bank assigns the loan to a commercial bank and this commercial bank enters into direct relationship with the borrower. The Bank ceases to be a lender of record and the assignee bank does not share the preferred creditor status of the Bank.
8.3 Preferred Creditor Status
The Bank as an international financial institution, expects to be considered a preferred creditor. This means that the Bank usually will:
i) not reschedule debt payments or participate in debt rescheduling agreements with respect to its loans to, or guaranteed by, its member countries of operations; and
ii) not reschedule its loan to a private sector borrower where the borrower’s inability or anticipated inability to service its debt is due to a general foreign exchange shortage in the borrower’s country.
8.4 Equal Ranking
In its lending transactions, the Bank should normally rank at least equal to other lenders. The Bank may agree, under certain conditions, to accept longer maturities or a subordinated position if this substantially enhances the possibility of securing financing for a project and increases its expected return.