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    VEB Bank to lend $44.5 mln for Tu-204 sale to Cuba

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    MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-owned Development Bank (Vneshekonombank) has agreed to loan a subsidiary of the Cuban national airline $44.5 million to buy a Russian cargo plane, VEB said in a statement Tuesday.

    VEB, the Ilyushin Finance leasing company and Cuba's Aviaimport S.A. signed Tuesday an agreement of intent to issue the 12-year loan to finance the purchase of one Tu-204CE and related equipment under an export contract between Aviaimport S.A. and Ilyushin Finance Co.

    VEB said industrial export was a major field of its investment activity.

    Aviaimport S.A. is a subsidiary of Cuba's state-run CACSA airline, which handles domestic and international passenger and cargo flights.

    The Tu-204CE, a cargo version of the Tu-204, is a twin-engine medium-haul airplane. The aircraft made its maiden flight in late 2006.

    Since 2005, Cuba has received six Russian aircraft - three Il-96-300 passenger airliners, two Tu-204-100 passenger planes, and an initial Tu-204CE cargo plane.

    A number of agreements, including on the purchase of Tu-204 passenger airliners and An-148-200 regional jets, were signed during a recent visit by a Russian delegation to Cuba.

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