L-R: Yuriko Backes, Luxembourg's Minister of Finance; Simone Joachim, Director of ODL; Arsène Jacoby, President of ODL; Credit: MFIN

Monday 16 May 2022 marked the inauguration of the new offices of Luxembourg's Export Credit Agency (Office du Ducroire Luxembourg - ODL) in Luxembourg-Eich.

The inauguration of the new ODL offices at 65 Rue d'Eich took place on Monday, in the presence of Luxembourg's Minister of Finance, Yuriko Backes. Created in 1961, this public establishment, placed under the authority of the Ministry of Finance, has just celebrated its 60th anniversary in the service of Luxembourg exporters.

For decades, the ODL's mission has been to support Luxembourg companies, whatever their size, in the development of their international commercial projects. It insures the risks of cancellation and non-payment (political and commercial) in the context of short-term and medium-long term export transactions. Import contracts and risks related to investments by Luxembourg companies abroad are also covered.

In addition to the credit insurance solutions guaranteed by the Luxembourg State against business risks related to international transactions and investments abroad, the ODL has been managing for almost 20 years, via the committee for the promotion of Luxembourg exports (Copel), financial aid linked to the international promotional activities of Luxembourg exporting companies.

The new law of 4 December 2019 foresaw the modernisation of the ODL, as well as broadening its mandate in order to be able to adapt its products to the needs of companies in a context of globalisation of foreign trade. The ODL has also been given a new structure, namely a board of directors deciding, among other things, on the general policy and the main lines to be pursued by the establishment, its own staff and a management with decision-making power. The Copel, which until then was the subject of collaboration between the ODL and the Ministry of the Economy, has since been fully integrated into the ODL.

By application of this law, the first important decision of its board of directors was to create several technical committees which, thanks to their knowledge and their experiences, provide the ODL not only with extensive know-how and expertise, but also a speed of decision allowing to accompany and fully support the Luxembourg economy.

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the ODL was called upon more than ever and enabled Luxembourg companies operating internationally to maintain a stable financial and economic situation throughout this crisis, in particular by setting up a reinsurance scheme for private credit insurers so that they could maintain their commitments vis-à-vis exporters and also through close collaboration with the "Mutualité de Cautionnement" (mutual guarantee) and assistance to traders.

Moreover, the ODL was able to contribute to the success of several export projects within the framework of its existing cooperation with banks in the financial centre. Thus, for example, the guarantee commitment insurance product covering the banks of Luxembourg exporters was able to prove itself during the COVID-19 crisis and proved to be a solution establishing a beneficial leverage effect for the granting of lines of credit by Luxembourg banks.

Finance Minister Yuriko Backes commented: "I am delighted to be able to inaugurate the new offices of the Office du Ducroire today. For more than 60 years, the ODL has supported our companies in their international development and provided them with the necessary support to establish themselves in new markets. In the current uncertain context marked by the war in Ukraine following an unprecedented pandemic, this institution has become even more indispensable. Make no mistake about its size; this small institution has everything of a big one".

Simone Joachim, Director of ODL, added: "In a world that is constantly changing and in which crises follow one another, the ODL demonstrates at all times its effectiveness and its importance as well as its ability to adapt to support the Luxembourg companies and economy".