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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EBRD Aids Plane Deal With China

LONDON -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said Wednesday it had extended a five-year $50 million revolving facility to finance the export of Russian-made Tupolev cargo aircraft.

The facility will initially finance the export to China of five Tu-204-120Cs, the Westernized cargo version of the most technically advanced civil aircraft developed in the former Soviet Union, the EBRD said in a statement.

The borrower is Sirocco Aerospace Russia, controlled by Egypt's Sirocco Aerospace International.

"Given the huge investments made during the Soviet era, the bank is keen to help Russia rebuild a competitive industry that can integrate into the global aviation economy," said Noreen Doyle, the EBRD's first vice president.

The Egyptian investors hold a 25 percent stake in the Aviastar plant in Ulyanovsk, where the aircraft are being built.

Sirocco also holds a stake in the Tupolev Design Bureau, which has been producing aircraft for more than 80 years.

The planes, which can carry up to 30 metric tons of freight and have a 3,500-kilometer range, have been ordered by China's national flag carrier Air China and the privatized China Eastern airline. They will be powered by Rolls Royce RB211-535E4B engines.

The two companies, together with China's Aviation and Supplies Import and Export Corp., have taken an option on the delivery of 10 more such aircraft, the EBRD said in a statement marking the signature of the deal in London.

"The transaction breaks new ground for the bank, marking its entry into the financing of aircraft manufacturing and giving a boost to a Russian high-tech sector capable of delivering sophisticated but competitively priced planes to markets in the Pacific Rim, Asia, Africa and the Middle East," Doyle was quoted as saying in the press release.

The EBRD said the aircraft are the most technically advanced craft produced in any of the former Soviet Union countries, with fly-by-wire technology and high-performance wings.

(Reuters, MT)