Export Credit Norway signed new loan agreements totalling NOK 1.1 billion (Q1 2017: NOK 1.9 billion) in the first quarter of the year, and disbursed NOK 332 million in new loans (NOK 1.9 billion). The period between signature of a loan agreement and loan disbursement, which occurs on project delivery, is normally between one and two years.
Although actual loan disbursements during the quarter were relatively low, the increase in the number of export financing applications received – and the associated application volume – was the highest in several quarters. Overall for all industry segments, Export Credit Norway received 99 loan applications (65) representing a total application volume of NOK 73.4 billion (NOK 48.3 billion) in Q1 2018.
“Although the road from a loan application to a signed contract can be long, it is encouraging to see activity levels rising in virtually all market segments,” says Export Credit Norway CEO Otto Søberg.
Full steam ahead for passenger and fishing vessels
Within the ocean-based industries, which encompasses oil and gas, ships and ship equipment as well as fisheries and aquaculture, Export Credit Norway received 67 loan applications (43) representing an application volume of NOK 55.2 billion (NOK 40.1 billion) in the first quarter of the year. The increase in both number of applications and volume is primarily driven by applications for financing of passenger and merchant vessels.
The work that has been done is truly impressive
Otto Søberg, Export Credit Norway
“Cruise ships and passenger ferries have become symbols of Norwegian shipyards’ successful shift in focus in recent years. The work that has been done is truly impressive,” says Søberg.
In the first quarter, Export Credit Norway received 12 applications under the new ship financing scheme, the majority of which were related to fishing vessels. The scheme allows the company to provide financing to Norwegian purchasers of vessels that are built at Norwegian shipyards and intended for service in Norwegian waters. The scheme is scheduled to be approved by the Norwegian parliament prior to its summer break, and is likely to become operational on 1 July 2018.
High SME activity
Almost half (47%) of applications received by the company in the first quarter were from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). SME applications accounted for 16% of the total application volume in the first quarter.
“Despite the fact that SME customer segments are fragmented, the number of applications in both the industry and renewable energy as well as maritime industry sectors is increasing. This suggests that our efforts to raise awareness of export financing as an option for SME have been successful. We recognise that our services cannot deliver on all the capital requirements that SMEs might have, but we have to utilise the tools at our disposal. We have invested considerable time and resources in our SME products and services, and will continue to do so,” says Otto Søberg.
Export Credit Norway’s lending balance totalled NOK 65.9 billion (NOK 75.8 billion) as of 31 March 2018. Exchange rate movements reduced the balance by approximately NOK 2.5 billion in the first quarter.
As of 31 March 2018, 73% of Export Credit Norway’s lending portfolio was guaranteed by GIEK, with the remaining 27% being guaranteed by Norwegian banks (14%) and foreign banks (13%).
Published 03. Jun 2018