Italian export credit agency Sace is guaranteeing a US$30mn financing to Astaldi structured by Italian bank BNL. The guarantee is aimed at covering production costs of three projects started in Venezuela for the enlargement of the domestic railway system as well as the completion of a segment of the Caracas underground railway.

This is the second working capital guarantee operation finalised by Sace and is part of the new insurance/financial products introduced by the recent competitiveness decree.

A working capital guarantee allows for the reduction of a bank’s risk exposure and favours enterprises “access to credit.

The Astaldi project in Venezuela envisages the enlargement of a new railway system in the country’s central region. It will cover around 230km and will allow for the strengthening of rail link infrastructures in Venezuela.

Venezuela is the sixth country in Sace’s portfolio in terms of overall exposure, with ongoing commitments amounting to about €910mn (as at April 30).

The South American country plays a crucial role for Italian exports. In 2004, exports to Venezuela increased greatly, reaching €440mn (+64% compared to 2003). There is a considerable presence of Italian enterprises in Venezuela, focusing on the Venezuelan economy’s priority sectors, such as infrastructures, energy and transport.