In addition to export finance facilities on commercial terms, the Austrian export industry can make use of financing on concessional terms. Financing on concessional terms can only be provided to countries which have qualified for specific projects under certain conditions.
Soft loan policy
Soft loan financing is used in accordance with the soft loan policy of the Federal Ministry of Finance to assist Austrian exporters competing in international markets with the overall objective of fostering sustainable development in recipient countries. The financing is solely done in Euro.
Export companies/general contractors domiciled in Austria must
- employ staff at the Austrian company's site with the relevant technical know-how in the relevant sector and which is trained to further develop its knowledge.
- show a track record of projects already realised with this staff on non-concessional terms in the relevant sector and continue to do so.
Type of soft loans
Soft loan financing is available either in the form of a pre-mixed credit (this is a loan with a low interest rate, a grace period and long repayment terms), or a mixed credit (a financing package consisting of a non-refundable grant from the Federal Ministry of Finance and a soft loan). These attractive terms and conditions are made possible by official support from Austrian public authorities.
Due to the particular development-policy motivation in connection with soft loan financing, the Federal Ministry of Finance offers, as a special measure, a reduction of the guarantee charges, that - in combination with the partial assumption of other financing costs - reduces the total costs for the recipient country and is done until further notice.
Transactions in Austria's interest
Soft loan financing is provided in the form of tied aid credits, i.e. it is restricted to the export of mainly Austrian goods and services. The maximum permissible foreign content, which means foreign content from third countries plus local costs, is limited to 50% of the value of the contract.
Within OeKB, the Department for Research, Analyses and International Relations/Project and Client Analysis is in charge of assessing projects. In order to do so, the exporter has to complete a questionnaire that must be added to his application for an export guarantee.
For so-called de-minimis projects - projects with a contract value below 2 million SDR (Special Drawing Rights) - a simplified questionnaire is foreseen. It contains questions concerning the project itself as well as questions about the export company and the character of the project.
Thus Austrian exporters can benefit from Austrian soft loans only if they can verify they have the relevant know-how in Austria to realise the project they apply for. In the case of pure/predominant services according to the Austrian soft loan policy, the questionnaire also includes a clear description of possible soft loan eligible services.
In addition to requirements on the Austrian exporter's credit rating and performance risk, the application procedure more intensively considers the exporter's ratio between business financed on commercial terms and business financed on soft loan terms.