“Our mandate is to support the Norwegian export industry. For export out of Norway, Eksportfinans is the sole provider of officially supported credits to, for instance, the OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) arrangement for export credits,” says Tellef Tellefsen, head of sales at Eksportfinans. “In addition, due to our AAA-rating, we provide very attractive terms on commercial loans.”
Eksportfinans is an institution dually owned by the Norwegian government (15%) and Norwegian banks (85%), and export credits are offered to foreign buyers in order to finance their purchases of Norwegian goods and services.
Favourable Interest Rates
Government-supported export financing is offered with fixed interest rates determined by the OECD – the so-called CIRR (Commercial Interest Reference Rate). “Under this plan, Eksportfinans is in a position to lock in fixed interest rates early in the project phase, and this is obviously of particular interest in today’s low-interest environment,” Tellefsen says.
“Commercial lending in connection with export financing – including ship financing – is offered at floating or fixed interest rates in all convertible currencies,” Tellefsen explains. “We have favourable funding based on our extremely high credit quality. Thus, we can offer very competitive commercial interest rates.”
Shipowners and shipbuilders play key roles in Eksportfinans’ activities. “We can offer long-term ship financing in connection with ships that are built at Norwegian yards, but other important sectors include maritime equipment, offshore, aquaculture, hydroelectric power and defence equipment.”
“Newbuilding of ships at Norwegian yards, ship’s equipment and offshore oil and gas projects constitute the dominant sectors of our export lending activity. We are heavily involved in the areas where the Norwegian maritime cluster is particularly strong,” says Tellefsen.
Currently, such areas include the financing of specialized offshore vessels to be built at Norwegian yards and equipment and services for the numerous rigs that have recently been ordered at foreign yards, most of them with Norwegian interests.
“Our order book is at record levels, and this is a direct result of following, every single day, the successful Norwegian maritime industry very closely,” Tellefsen says, adding that the Eksportfinans staff’s horizons stretch far beyond their offices in Oslo.
“Although we are located in Oslo, we spend most of our time on the Norwegian coastline or in the Far East – because that’s where the business is,” he says.