Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) has supported US$1.4bn-worth of Australian exports and overseas investments in the year to June 30, 2007. This is over double the amount of business concluded in the previous year.

The statistics also show that Efic provided finance and insurance facilities worth US$554.4mn, again more than double the previous year. The annual report has just been tabled in Australia’s federal parliament this week.

Mining and construction deals dominated the majority of Efic’s facilities by value in 2006 to 2007. In its largest transaction, Efic provided political risk insurance, as well as debt finance, to support Equinox Mineral’s US$715mn Lumwana copper mine developments in Zambia.

It has also supported large construction projects, including the construction of a US$104mn bridge in Vietnam, a project involving Australian firm Baulderstone Hornibrook. This deal was arranged by Société Générale and Calyon, and the borrower is the Ho Chi Minh City Investment Fund for Urban Development. Working with its German parent company Bilfinger Berger, Baulderstone is constructing the 705m bridge over the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City.

Germany’s export credit agency provided insurance for SG’s loan, and Efic then provided reinsurance to Hermes to the value of US$26mn to support the Australian content of the deal. France’s Coface provided further reinsurance to Euler Hermes for the French content of the project.

Another key deal for Efic was the provision of an export finance guarantee to support a loan from HSBC bank to the state-owned Russian Bank for Development. The Russian bank is funding a client who is designing and supplying a galvanising line to Australian firm Bronx International.

As part of the transaction, Efic also issued an advanced payment bond in favour of the Russian buyer as security for advance payments made by the buyer to Bronx International under the contract.  The project is the third contract between Bronx International and the Russian industrial manufacturer.