BRICS development bank to expand lending to private sector

The New Development Bank’s first non-sovereign project was a $200 million loan to Brazil’s Petrobras for an environmental protection scheme. (Reuters)
Updated 29 May 2018

BRICS development bank to expand lending to private sector

SHANGHAI: The New Development Bank (NDB), set up by the BRICS group of major emerging economies, wants loans to the private sector to eventually take up a 30 percent share of its project portfolio, a senior executive at the bank said on Tuesday.
Xian Zhu, the NDB’s chief operating officer, said that the bank was targeting an overall 70-30 split between sovereign and non-sovereign loans in its project portfolio, and was seeing strong demand for private sector loans especially in Brazil, South Africa and Russia.
The Shanghai-based bank on Monday approved six new projects which brought its loan portfolio up to over $5.1 billion across 21 projects. Two of these were non-sovereign loans, which are issued to companies without a government guarantee.
“In India and China, there’s very strong demand for sovereign ... But on the other hand, some other countries for different reasons they probably prefer more non-sovereign lending,” he said.
“Some countries they still have some sort of fiscal difficulties. Secondly, the debt sustainability is a concern. They don’t want to borrow too much in sovereign terms. So they prefer you do more market transactions.”
The bank’s first non-sovereign project was a $200 million loan to Brazil’s Petrobras for an environmental protection scheme and the second a $200 million loan to South Africa’s Transnet to reconstruct a port in Durban.
Xian said that there was a gap in the market for them to fill as they were willing to make long-term loans with tenures of at least 10 years.
The NDB is seen as the first major achievement of the BRICS — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — since they joined forces in 2009 to press for a bigger say in the global financial order created by Western powers after World War Two.


Lufthansa cabin crew union stages all-day strike at smaller airlines

Updated 20 October 2019

Lufthansa cabin crew union stages all-day strike at smaller airlines

  • There is escalating row over workers’ pay and pensions
  • The cabin crew union has for months fought with the airline in court over UFO’s legal status

FRANKFURT: German flight attendants’ union UFO on Sunday said it would stage an all-day strike at smaller German divisions of airline group Lufthansa in an escalating row over workers’ pay and pensions.
The walkout at Lufthansa brands Germanwings, Eurowings, Lufthansa City Line and Sunexpress had initially been scheduled for 0300-0900 GMT but the union in a statement on Sunday said industrial action would now be extended until midnight local time (2200 GMT), citing threats made by the airline over jobs as reason.
A Lufthansa spokesman said the strike was illegal because UFO’s status as a negotiator on behalf of staff was in doubt.
Lufthansa on Friday had offered a 2 percent pay rise to cabin staff, prompting the union to call off a planned strike at Lufthansa’s namesake core brand at hubs Frankfurt and Munich.
But the dispute deteriorated after UFO found the offer lacked concessions on expenses and employment conditions.
The cabin crew union has for months fought with the airline in court over UFO’s legal status. Lufthansa claims the union’s new leadership team that took office earlier this year was not elected in a way that met legal requirements.