|CHINA GRABS SHARE IN LATIN AMERICA WIND WITH CHEAP LOANS|
Aruba, November 23, 2012 - Chinese wind-turbine makers have broken into the South American market, the world’s fastest- growing, by offering government-backed loans at interest ratesas much as 50 percent lower than local offerings.
The package deals can get buyers to choose Chinese machines over those of Western manufacturers such as Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS)of Denmark or General Electric Co., much in the way the U.S. government helps American exporters sell everything from cotton to satellites by guaranteeing loans or insurance.
Chinese wind-turbine makers have broken into the South American market, the world’s fastest-growing, by offering government-backed loans at interest rates as much as 50 percent lower than local offerings. In one of the latest transactions, China Development Bank Corp. agreed on Nov. 15 to loan $261 million for a Grupo Isolux Corsan SA project in Argentinathat will use 100 megawatts of turbines from Xiangtan, China-based XEMC Windpower Co. The state-run bank is talking to Argentine developer Geassa to support a $3.5 billion wind project that would be the continent’s largest.
“The name of the game here is the loan,” Geassa Executive Vice President Eduardo Restuccia said in an interview. The Buenos Aires-based company is negotiating to borrow $3 billion from China Development for its planned 1,350-megawatt wind project in southern Argentina’s Chubut province. “It’s not possible to get a long-term loan from a commercial bank.” South American banks see multiyear loans for wind energyas too risky compared with lending on cars or homes. That has opened the door for Chinese turbine makers that provide both turbines and financing to establish a toehold in the world’s fastest-growing wind market, Restuccia said.