A San Diego produce importer became the first business to obtain financing through a new program launched by the Overseas Private Investment Corp. and Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank.
The $5 million loan to Andrew & Williamson Sales is being used to expand operations in Mexico, including construction of a new packing plant, housing for workers, school, medical care center and store in Vizcaino, 500 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border.
A & W; is a U.S. distributor of produce but operates a subsidiary in Vizcaino that grows fruits and vegetables year-round for the U.S. market, said Fidela Irigoyen, senior vice president of Wells Fargo HSBC Trade Bank.
The bank is a joint venture of San Francisco-based Wells Fargo and London-based HSBC, and has $1.8 billion in assets.
“The bank was established in 1995 and is the only U.S. chartered bank for trade financing aimed at midmarket companies,” Irigoyen said.
Midmarket firms have sales above $25 million. Loans range from $2 million to $15 million, with terms from two to seven years.
In Mexico, A & W; employs 600 employees, who grow tomatoes and cucumbers.
Federal agency OPIC helps U.S. companies invest in foreign markets and fosters business development in new and emerging markets.
A & W; said obtaining financing through OPIC was key to setting up operations in Mexico.
“This newly built community will help create jobs and provide a comfortable living for families,” said Fred Williamson, chief executive at A & W; Sales. “We not only see a successful future for our business, but also a positive impact on both economies.”
Borrowers agree not to violate human rights or workers’ rights.
, Mike Allen