Kolkata–Exim (Export-Import) Bank is looking for an innovative funding mechanism for ships through collaboration with partners for overseas trade, a top bank official said on Wednesday.

“We are trying to work with partners if we can fund acquisition of ships through innovative financing. Of the total export-import trade of India, only 5 per cent is carried by ships owned by Indians,” said the bank’s Chairman and Managing Director Yaduvendra Mathur.

“At first, we are looking to work with Shipping Corporation of India. It can take as charter and ships can be bought by investors,” Mathur said.

The bank is also focussing to lend leading India companies for overseas acquisition.

“Under the scheme — Overseas Investment Finance — we lend to leading Indian companies for overseas acquisition. We have lent to more than 530 companies. The bank disbursed Rs 5,264 crore in the last fiscal for acquisition and for 26 overseas ventures,” he said.

“We hope to exceed this disbursement figure in the current fiscal and want to do more this business,” he said on the sidelines of The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) Banking Conclave.

“We are encouraging Indian companies to acquire overseas technology and brands and manufacture in India under Make in India programme,” he said.

The lender is looking at a $10 billion line of credit to Africa, he said.

Mathur, however, did not see any credit risk in Bangladesh’s Rampal coal power plant project but said the bank might take a reputation risk. The project has been faced criticism on ecological ground.

“We are backed by sovereign guarantee of Bangladesh and we have government of India counter guarantee. We do not see any credit risk. However, we might take a reputation risk,” said Mathur.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) recently said electricity generated from the Rampal coal power plant in Bangladesh would cost 32 per cent more than the average electricity cost of India’s neighbouring country.

The bank sought an infusion of Rs 1,300 crore from the government in the current fiscal. So far, the bank has received about Rs 500 crore as equity from the government, he said.

Last year, the bank’s disbursement grew by 18 per cent.

“This year, the growth could be muted due to equity constraints and the new guidelines of the India Development Economic Assistance Scheme, which as released in 2015,” he said. (IANS)