Exclusive: Boeing loses large satellite deal due to trade credit woes - sources

Tue Aug 4, 2015 7:01pm EDT
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By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) is scrambling to find alternate financing for a satellite contract worth "several hundred million dollars" that was scuttled by privately held commercial satellite provider ABS due to uncertainty about the future of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, three sources familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

ABS, based in Bermuda and Hong Kong, terminated its order for the satellite in mid-July, citing the expiration of the trade bank's charter on June 30, according to the sources, who asked not to be named given the sensitivity of the issue.

The termination marks the first known casualty of the ongoing congressional debate over the future of the trade bank, which lends money to U.S. exporters and their foreign customers.

ABS told Boeing, the largest U.S. exporter, that it would have to consider non-U.S.-based producers to build ABS-8, given the absence of U.S. export credit financing, the sources said.

Boeing first announced the ABS contract in June, saying the new satellite, scheduled for delivery in 2017, would expand broadcast and enterprise services to Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, Russia, South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Boeing Chairman Jim McNerney, expressing frustration about the refusal of a small minority of lawmakers to accept majority support for the bank, last week said the company is now looking at moving some commercial work to other countries.

Tea Party conservatives in the U.S. Congress have attacked the trade bank as a promoter of "crony capitalism" for multinationals such as Boeing and General Electric Co (GE.N: Quote).

The bank's backers argue that it actually provides revenues for the U.S. government, and helps level the playing field for U.S. exporters given similar trade credits available for other manufacturers around the world.   Continued...

The Boeing logo is seen at their headquarters in Chicago, April 24, 2013.  REUTERS/Jim Young