U.S. Senator Michael Bennet applauded news that the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. has approved a loan of more than $100 million to help Grand Junction-based International Concept Management (ICM) begin construction on an aquarium in Brazil, which, when completed, will be the third largest in the world. The announcement from Ex-Im Bank was made earlier this month.
"This loan is a perfect example of how the Ex-Im Bank -- by providing much-need financing and security -- is helping small businesses in Colorado enter international markets," Bennet said. "When Colorado companies break ground on international projects like this aquarium, it creates hundreds of jobs here in our state, and thousands across the country through the supply chain. In this way, the Ex-Im Bank is an important driver for our nation's economy."
"The Ex-Im Bank's loan is a valuable form of insurance that allows us to take the risk of entering a new and unpredictable market, ultimately helping us to provide hundreds of new jobs here in Colorado," ICM Chief Operating Officer Peter DiGrazia said.
The project is expected to employ several hundred people in Colorado, as well as more than 1,000 nationally through a network of over 15 U.S. subcontractors, suppliers and partners throughout the U.S.
In Colorado -- and on the western slope in particular -- the Ex-Im Bank has been an important lending source for businesses looking to expand to new markets. In 2010, Grand Junction-based Leitner-Poma of America received a loan of $2.3 million from the bank.
Earlier this year, Senator Bennet worked to pass the bipartisan Ex-Im Bank Reauthorization Act, extending its lending authority for another two years and expanding its capacity by $40 billion. He's visited with leaders from several Colorado businesses, including ICM, Leitner-Poma of America, and Coolerado in Denver, that rely on the Ex-Im Bank for financing to compete in international markets.
ICM has previously executed contracts in more than 20 countries; its portfolio includes the AquaDom in Berlin, the Burj-Al-Arab Hotel in Dubai, and the Macau City of Dreams in Macau.