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GE eyes projects that add efficiency

Despite a US credit crunch Credit Crunch

An economic condition whereby investment capital is difficult to obtain. Banks and investors become weary of lending funds to corporations thereby driving up the price of debt products for borrowers.
 the last 11/2 years, GE Commercial Finance Corporate Lending took part in recent deals lending $112 million for Pratt Industries USA's recycled containerboard machine project in Shreveport, LA, and $275 million for Peter Brant brant or brant goose, common name for a species of wild sea goose. The American brant, Branta bernicla, breeds in the Arctic and winters along the Atlantic coast.  and partners to buy SP Newsprint.

"We look for good operators," said GE Corporate Lending senior vice president Jon Rager, who has tracked the US forest products and pulp and paper industry The global pulp and paper industry is dominated by North American (United States, Canada), northern European (Finland, Sweden) and East Asian countries (such as Japan). Australasia and Latin America also have significant pulp and paper industries.  for 18 years including the last IVz years with GE corporate lending. "We look to invest in low-cost, well-run assets. We take a long-term view."

GE Commercial Finance Corporate Lending had $5.4 billion exposure through March in the North American North American

named after North America.


North American blastomycosis
see North American blastomycosis.

North American cattle tick
see boophilusannulatus.
 forest products, and pulp and paper industry, from loans, leases and equity, and the total increased in the second quarter as well. GE Finance was agent and joined additional lenders on the Pratt funding, and led a syndicate of investors on the Brant/White Birch funding.

With the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee expected to start raising interest rates soon, and a sub-prime mortgage financing crisis that has crippled financing efforts for corporate America, Rager called the lending landscape "challenging." Higher interest rates will expand spreads, or the interest rate added to LIBOR LIBOR

See: London Interbank Offered Rate


LIBOR

See London interbank offered rate (LIBOR).
 or the treasury base rate in a floating rate facility, and increase borrowing terms, he said. Still, he said funding opportunities exist, especially for energy projects, where pulp and paper mills push for alternative fuels including biomass to replace fossil fuel fossil fuel: see energy, sources of; fuel.
fossil fuel

Any of a class of materials of biologic origin occurring within the Earth's crust that can be used as a source of energy. Fossil fuels include coal, petroleum, and natural gas.
 energy.

"I do think there will be more (energy) projects evaluated. A significant number will go forward," Rager told Pulp & Paper Week. Rager said the "the real key" today is if a project increases operating efficiency "which will certainly be important going forward."

Rager noted Pratt's Shreveport plan to produce lightweight recycled linerboard lin·er·board  
n.
A type of paperboard used in making corrugated cartons.
, which he said is "required in the marketplace," as well as its unique raw material supply. Pratt expects its majority raw material for the Shreveport PM to be mixed paper, the lowest cost US recovered paper material. The company will count on recovered paper supply from the city of Shreveport as well as material recovery facilities in the Dallas area and Memphis.

The Shreveport PM project is moving ahead "as planned and operation is scheduled to begin at the end of this year," a contact said. Rager cited Pratt's "track record" of making 100% recycled content containerboard at mills in Conyers, GA, Staten Island, NY, and Australia - and a "leader in mining recycled fiber."

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Author:Anonymous
Publication:Pulp & Paper
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:424
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