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A Small Business Grows Exports with EXIM Bank Loan Guarantees
July 07, 2016 Elizabeth Thomas, Business Development Specialist, Office of Small Business

Building Bridges:  EXIM Bank Helps a Business Grow by Connecting Communities around the World

  • Extraordinary experience;
  • Creativity;
  • Solutions-oriented approach; and
  • True added value

These are just some of the descriptive phrases Paul Sullivan, VP of International Business Development for Acrow Bridge, uses when discussing his experience working with the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank).  

THE CHALLENGES – Lack of infrastructure, limited funding, competition

Acrow Bridge has been designing, manufacturing and suppling prefabricated modular steel bridges for over 60 years and supplies its products to more than 80 countries worldwide.  One of the challenges it faces is that many of the countries it serves have not made the investment in infrastructure that facilitates movement of goods and people, and brings prosperity to an area.   Another challenge is that many governments are unable to make up front, short- term investments that deliver long-term economic results.  If financial resources are not available, for example, a country may limit its investment to two bridges one year and three bridges the next year, rather than the 50 to 150 bridges that are needed to transform an area.  Finally, there is stiff competition from manufacturers in Europe and China.

THE SOLUTION – Loan guarantees from EXIM Bank

To meet these challenges, Acrow Bridge turned to EXIM Bank, and a partnership was born.  The collaboration started early in the process with Acrow Bridge and an interdisciplinary team from EXIM Bank  jointly analyzing the financial, commercial, legal and technical feasibility of the project.  Mr. Sullivan credits the EXIM Bank team with truly understanding the needs of the end-user and with “profound involvement” from initial due diligence, to closing financing, and to project implementation.

Financing played a key role in Acrow Bridge’s ability to secure business overseas.  As a small business undertaking  large projects, Acrow Bridge’s financing options were limited. Working with EXIM Bank, Acrow Bridge is able to team with international banking partners to provide funding for countries to finance and implement infrastructure projects.  Utilizing EXIM Bank’s lender loan guarantee, Acrow Bridge works with its financial institutions to provide the lending facility to foreign buyers of Acrow’s products, backed 100% by the EXIM Bank guarantee.  With loan guarantees, financial institutions are willing to go into new international markets, and Acrow Bridge is able to transform communities.  Loan guarantees also empower Acrow Bridge to compete.  “Without it, says Mr. Sullivan, our competitors would take all of those projects.” 

THE RESULTS – Improving lives worldwide

Mr. Sullivan speaks passionately about the role of a bridge as a lifeline, connecting residents to schools, hospitals and economic opportunity.  EXIM Bank and Acrow Bridge each have compelling maxims – "Reducing Risk, Unleashing Opportunity" and "Building Bridges, Connecting People".  Together we are improving lives for people worldwide.

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