The Export-Import Bank of the United States (US Exim) has made a loan of US$425mn for the purchase of American locomotives.

Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ), the Kazakh national rail company, will use the finance to buy approximately 200 Evolution Series locomotives from General Electric (GE).

The financing is a direct loan, with a tenor of up to 10 years. The interest rate is at the applicable Commercial Interest Reference Rate (CIRR).

“At the time the transaction was being structured, KTZ had concerns about the availability and reliability of commercial bank funding,” says David Fiore, loan officer at US Exim.

He adds that there are plenty of opportunities in Kazakhstan for US companies and that US Exim will be doing everything it can to help them. He tells GTR: “We see great opportunities in Kazakhstan. While the bank has previously experienced some challenges in the market, we remain confident that there are significant opportunities in infrastructure, energy, transportation, aviation and locomotives.

“US Exim works to ensure that American companies never lose a sale because of financing; our nation’s businesses should compete solely on the quality and features of their products. When times are tight in the credit markets, businesses are often hit because they have fewer borrowing options. If these businesses don’t have access to financing, they are unable to reach potential new customers that can and should be within their reach.”

2012 has been a record year for US Exim lending. Fiore explains to GTR that he expects the uptick to continue into 2013: “Infrastructure spending across the globe is expected to reach US$40tn over the next 20 years. In 2012, US Exim provided more than US$5.1bn in infrastructure-related financing, a 433% increase over 2008. We foresee financing even more of these projects in the coming year. The bank also provided strong support for manufacturing of all types in 2012, approving US$11bn in financing for manufacturing – the second largest industry sector in our portfolio behind aircraft.”