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Vienna, 16 March 2012 Bill guarantee ceiling increased to EUR 1 billion Fekter: "Export trade and SMEs are the engine of the economy"

As a part of Austria ’s policy of promoting export trade, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance (FMF) has increased the ceiling on bill guarantees for its export fund by EUR 100 million, to a total of EUR 1 billion, thus opening the 'door' on the export fund just a bit wider. "In this way we enable even more small- and medium-sized enterprises to make use of export fund loans. Particularly in periods of economic downturns, it is important to supply liquidity to SMEs", Austrian Finance Minister Dr. Maria Fekter emphasised.

The goal of the export fund is to furnish credit lines to export-sector SMEs in order to provide them with financing for their export-related receivables and contracts. This will more easily tide them over during production phases and periods when they are awaiting payment from customers. Export fund loan financing may be obtained for up to 30% of annual export revenues. However, the export fund clients (of whom there are just under 1,600) are not only from the manufacturing sector, they also include service providers. What this means is that planning and engineering firms, hotels, IT companies and many more may benefit from export fund loans.

In light of the changes in the level of domestic manufacturing by the Austrian manufacturing sector in recent years, the maximum permitted share of offshore manufacturing was increased to 75%. What this means is that even more companies now have easier access to export fund loans. The support of the FMF means that the export fund is a reliable partner to export-sector SMEs, including in uncertain economic times. "Small- and medium-sized businesses have a major impact on economic stability and are fundamental drivers of our economic structure. Precisely for this reason, in challenging times such as the ones we currently are experiencing, it is important to strengthen the hand of these businesses", Austrian Finance Minister Dr. Fekter stated in closing.