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BNP Paribas’ ECEP business primed to strike it rich in Australia

BNP Paribas’ ECEP business primed to strike it rich in Australia

(23 March 2005 – Australia) The global head of BNP Paribas’ Energy Commodities Export & Project (ECEP) business unit believes the bank is well positioned to capitalise on Australia’s booming resources market. Speaking to Banking News during a recent visit to Australia, Dominique Remy said the bank’s decision to combine its commodities, energy, export finance and trade finance into a single business unit had worked successfully in many different markets and could be expected to do likewise in Australia.

"The ECEP concept fits marvellously well in Australia as it’s a big mining and resources country and there a lot of new opportunities for us here. Australia is definitely a market which is on a rising curve," Remy said.

The bank, which has gained a global reputation for an innovative approach to project finance, brought the various business units under the same roof in January 2003. Since then, according to Remy, ECEP has become the world leader in commodities trade finance, top three in export and project finance and top five in global trade services.

Project Finance International magazine ranks BNP Paribas the number two bank behind Citigroup.

Demy said the ECEP strategy tends to be built around the strongest performing business line in a particular country. In Australia, ECEP was rolled out around project finance whereas in Russia it was based around structured finance.

He said bringing the various supply chains and product lines together under the umbrella of ECEP meant the bank was able to cross sell more effectively and leverage more out of client relationships.

"Very often today the key is not to offer just project finance or export finance but to find a solution for the customer, so we have to come with various products together to find a good solution. For example you might have project finance with export finance and some derivatives to do some hedging," Remy said.

"We want to be able to finance from the very short term to the very long term in project finance and to be able to focus on all the producing countries, whether from the industrial countries or emerging markets.

Remy said a major factor in ECEP’s success was the high level of in-house industry expertise combined with the bank’s global reach.

"One of the strengths of BNP Paribas is to have really strong experience and country expertise in all of these sectors. If you take the oil and gas sector, for example, we have experts on credit finance, experts on project finance," he said.
"There won’t be many other banks in the marketplace that have reservoir engineers in the team and we have a number of them in Houston and Paris and that’s unusual to have that expertise in house rather then relying on external advice.

"Likewise in the mining sector, we have people coming out of the mining industry with a finance background and that’s made a huge difference to the way we approach a particular business opportunity," Remy said.
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