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UPDATE 1-US Ex-Im OKs $118 mln loan for Vietnam to buy Lockheed satellite

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WASHINGTON, Oct 1 (Reuters) - The U.S. Export-Import Bank on Monday said it has approved an $118 million direct loan to a Vietnamese state-owned company to buy a telecommunications satellite and other goods and services from Lockheed Martin .

"By providing financing for Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group, this Ex-Im Bank loan supports U.S. manufactured satellites and U.S. jobs," Linda Reiners, a vice president at Lockheed Martin, said in a statement.

The loan represents Ex-Im Bank's first satellite transaction with the government of Vietnam.

It is expected to support approximately 525 full-time equivalent American jobs and financed export sales totaling $215 million, Ex-Im Bank said.

The satellite, VINASAT-2 was launched May 15 and recently completed a series of in-orbit testing, Ex-Im Bank said.

Vietnam Post, based in Hanoi, hopes to use the satellite to meet the growing demand of telecommunications and television markets in the region, the bank said.

The satellite will provide coverage to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand, the bank said.

BNP Paribas will serve as the documentation agent and letter-of-credit bank.

President Barack Obama gave approval in June for Ex-Im Bank to extend the loan.

Obama's approval was needed because U.S. law requires a presidential determination that Ex-Im Bank loans of more than $50 million to a "Marxist-Leninist" economy are in the U.S. national interest, a bank spokesman said.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by Carol Bishopric)

((doug.palmer@thomsonreuters.com)(202 898 8341))

Keywords: USA VIETNAM/SATELLITE

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