UK Export Finance (UKEF) has this week published its annual report and accounts showing £10m of support provided to London exporters, resulting in over £41m worth of overseas sales.
London companies supported by UKEF include Barker Langham, a world-leading consultancy based in Clerkenwell that specialises in the development of cultural heritage projects across the globe. Previous prestigious projects include the National Museum of Qatar and Alexandra Palace in London.
When the company recently won two contracts with clients in the UAE, UKEF provided financial backing, as well as guidance on how to navigate and apply for export financing. UKEF offered Barker Langham’s bank a guarantee through its Bond Support Scheme, ensuring the company could secure a performance bond required under the terms of the contracts with a much smaller cash deposit than would otherwise be required.
Hannah Phung, team and project manager at Barker Langham said: “Without UKEF’s help, we wouldn’t have been able to secure the bond quickly enough and it would have jeopardised the deals. Being able to speak to someone at UKEF about our situation and get specific answers made a world of difference. The Bond Support Scheme was really vital to the success of these contracts for us, and now we know the help is there, we can be confident in further developing business abroad.”
Hitesh Patel, export finance manager for London (Central and West) said: “UKEF’s results demonstrate our ongoing commitment to making exports happen and to finding innovative ways to meet a broader range of exporter needs. More importantly, they highlight the growing international demand for UK goods and services and the willingness for UK businesses to meet that demand.”
UKEF’s national results for 2016/17 show that it provided £3bn of support across the UK – a 60% increase on 2015/16 – for exports to 63 countries, with 79% of the UK exporters benefiting from this support small and medium-sized enterprises. UKEF also lent a record £305m directly to infrastructure and energy projects.
This week, UKEF also published its Business Plan for the next three years, which identifies a number of concrete measures that will help more UK exporters and their suppliers benefit from UKEF support, including a partnership with banks to deliver support directly to their trading customers announced last week.
The plan also states that UKEF intends to use the draw of its financing to create procurement opportunities for smaller companies in the UK supply chain, incentivising overseas buyers to look to the UK to source goods and services.
Rt Hon. Greg Hands MP, minister for international trade, commented: “This government is putting export finance at the heart of trade promotion, and UKEF’s 2016/17 results show that the UK’s world-leading exporters are supported by a world-leading export credit agency as they look to succeed in a global marketplace. And UKEF’s new Business Plan is a clear statement of intent: Britain is open for business, and we want to help even more companies realise the world of opportunity out there.”
UKEF’s business plan builds on the Autumn Statement 2016 announcement of significant increases to UKEF’s capacity and flexibility. UKEF’s total risk appetite doubled to £5bn and the maximum cover limit for individual markets increased by up to 100%, potentially resulting in as much as £2.5bn of additional capacity to support exports to some markets. The number of pre-approved local currencies in which UKEF can offer support also increased from 10 to 40, enabling more overseas buyers of UK exports to buy British and pay in their own currency.