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US and European banks show interest in financing 257-mile highway

Banks from the US and Europe showed interest in the financing of a planned 257-mile highway in Romania aiming to link the Transylvanian city of Brasov to the western border town of Oradea, Marius Bota, a top official with the Transport Ministry, said.

He said banks including JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, ING, ABN Amro, Citibank, and Raiffeisen have lodged offers for loans. Bota added that competitive offers would be known by the end of this week.

The project triggered the European Commission's discontent and it has questioned Romania's decision to pay US giant Bechtel and its Turkish partner Enka Insaat Ve Sanayi $3.4bn to build the road.

The Romanian government awarded the project without an international tender, which attracted EU criticism. EximBank of America announced its availability to guarantee this project for $1bn.

(NewsBase 16.ii.04)

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