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U.S. Small Business Uses OPIC Loan to Support Equipment Rental Operation in Nigeria

March 27, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A U.S. small business will use a loan from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to expand its construction equipment leasing operation in Nigeria, helping the nation meet a growing demand for equipment as it accelerates its infrastructure development, OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli announced today.

The proceeds of a $750,000 OPIC loan will be used to acquire construction equipment to augment an existing rental fleet of graders, bulldozers and excavation equipment currently in use in Nigeria. The U.S. sponsor is Pacific Tri-Star, an Ogden, Utah-based heavy equipment rental business that has been operating in Nigeria for three years. The project is also supported by Interlink Capital Strategies, a consulting firm which serves as a loan originator for the Enterprise Development Network, a strategic alliance among OPIC and public and private sector organizations designed to support small business projects in emerging markets.

“This project will provide means for smaller Nigerian contractors to obtain reliable equipment with which to carry out construction projects ranging from road building to mining. It therefore supports the Nigerian government’s ongoing effort to significantly improve the country’s infrastructure,” Dr. Spinelli said. “OPIC is pleased to support a project with so many developmental benefits.”

Robert Gibb, founder of Pacific Tri-Star, said, “OPIC’s involvement in this project will be critical for capitalizing on the huge growth opportunities currently available in Nigeria.”

Alan Beard, managing director of Interlink, which has become a partner in the Nigerian company, said, “Pacific Tri-Star’s operation in Nigeria is unique because there are very few sources of well maintained construction equipment available to small subcontractors. Through OPIC’s support for additional equipment, this project can provide significant economic development to the Nigerian small business community.”

Pacific Tri-Star began business in 1991 with the goal of buying, selling, trading, and renting construction, agricultural and mining equipment in the United States. Recently, Pacific Tri-Star began selling used equipment in West Africa and researched the feasibility of expanding its operations in the region. With Interlink Capital Strategies and a local partner, Pacific Tri-Star launched its rental business in Nigeria in 2005, and has since substantially built up its inventory in Nigeria. The OPIC loan is expected to help the company expand its operation beyond Lagos.

Interlink Capital Strategies specializes in financing transactions and projects in emerging markets using government programs. Its support comprises business development seed money, export working capital, vendor financing, direct foreign investment support, insurance, bonding and guarantees.