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PARIS-Brazil will soon have its first export credit insurer.
French export credit insurer COFACE Group is entering into a joint venture with Rio de Janeiro-based Banco de Brasil, the largest Brazilian bank, and four other local insurers, to create a Brazilian credit insurer, COFACE said in a statement.
The other insurer partners are: Bradesco Seguros, Sul America Seguros, Bamerindus Seguros and Minas Brasil Seguros. Announcement of the new company coincided with the March visit of French President Jacques Chirac to Brazil.
The new private credit insurer will operate in a similar way to COFACE itself. It will write coverage both on its own behalf and as an agent for the Brazilian government. Brazilian companies will be able to insure their political and commercial export risks with the new company.
According to Francisco Dornelles, Minister of Brazilian Industry, Commerce and Tourism, the availability of a local source of export credit insurance is expected to increase the volume of Brazilian exports by $500 million per year.
In France, COFACE provides short-term export credit insurance on a private basis and also acts as agent for the French government in writing medium- and long-term export credit and political risks.
According to its year-end 1996 figures, credit insurance managed by COFACE on behalf of the French government in 1996 generated a surplus of 5.1 million French francs ($908,820), having been almost balanced in 1995. Gross written premiums exceeded claims for the first time in 15 years.
"The improvement is not due to the French government withdrawing from active support of exporters, nor offering less support to major exporting companies. On the contrary, the credit policy adopted in 1996 and the one announced for 1997 are more flexible than in previous years. The surplus is the result of both the improved financial situation of debtor countries, and a more active management" of debt, which is covered by consolidation agreements, the COFACE statement said.
By Maria Kielmas