RINGING UP A R71,3m FACILITY
LISTED INDUSTRIAL engineering group Bell Equipment has secured a US$9,95m (R71,3m) financing facility from Export-Import Bank of the US to help import machinery and components.
The Richards Bay-based heavy equipment manufacturer imports spare parts, kits for assembly and completed units of equipment from US-based John Deere Construction and Forestry Company, which manufacture equipment used in various types of earthmoving, such as road building and underground utilities.
Bell Equipment in SA uses imported spares to service existing John Deere machines sold in this country.
On 10 May this year, Bell Equipment will sign the credit facility with ExportImport Bank. Bell Equipment chairman Howard Buttery expects the credit facility to be doubled within two years, but warns: “It all depends on the level of our imports from the US.”
Buttery says that Government should support the establishment of an equivalent of the Export-Import Bank. “If South African exporters hope to compete in international markets they need to have finance tools that will allow them to compete with support structures available in other countries.”
The Export-Import Bank assists US firms to expand their businesses by providing export finance that otherwise wouldn’t have been available. The bank ensures that export financing is made available for US goods and services worldwide.
Meanwhile, the board of Bell Equipment has approved management’s request for a $15m (R107m) investment in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to set up a distribution company there.
The group is also currently finalising its black economic empowerment transaction. It has been engaged in talks with more than 25 bidders to select a potential empowerment partner. Bell Equipment plans to sell 30% of its sales and distribution division in SA to an empowerment partner, in which its black employees would own 7,5%.