Helping UK business compete overseas

Helping UK business compete overseas

UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency and part of the Department for International Trade, is helping UK companies realise their exporting ambitions with UK Government-backed financial support.

Boosting sales overseas will be key to growth for UK businesses as they look to thrive in a global marketplace. Bank research shows that, on average, firms that start exporting grow by a third in just two years. Exporters can see levels of growth that might not be possible domestically, spread business risk, realise economies of scale not always achievable in their home market, increase revenues and profits, and extend the commercial lifespan of their products and services. Overseas markets also present attractive opportunities for revenue growth and diversification, leading to innovation.

But having the right finance and insurance in place can make you more competitive when undertaking any business activity, and exporting is no different. That’s where we come in. UKEF is a government department with a mission to ensure no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance. Over the past five years, we provided over £14 billion in support for UK exports to businesses across all sectors and all sizes.

We help companies selling overseas find the right finance and insurance, complementing what is available from the private market, to help them win contracts, fulfil them and guarantee payment – even in new or challenging markets. Companies we have supported include Darlington’s Chemian Technology, a developer and manufacturer of ingredients for the pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetic industries.

One of its most successful export products is Citrepel, a wholly natural active ingredient used in insect repellents. Following the outbreak of the Zika virus in a number of countries, international demand for this product grew significantly and created the challenge of finding the funding required to deliver.

When Chemian won a contract worth £500,000 with an Italian customer (equal to 25% of its annual revenue), it turned to its bank and UKEF to find a solution. With the support of a UKEF guarantee on a working capital loan, Chemian was able to access substantially higher levels of funding. This allowed Chemian to fulfil this significant export opportunity while maintaining resources for other overseas business activities

We have also supported companies like Pontypool-based fire safety equipment manufacturer Flamgard Calidair. UKEF support enabled the company to fulfil a major business opportunity with the Chernobyl new safe confinement site. Under the terms of the contract, Flamgard would provide fire and shut-off dampers to the Chernobyl site, the world’s largest movable structure designed to facilitate monitoring and demolition of the previous containment building following the 1986 disaster.

To fulfil the contract, Flamgard had to provide its buyer with an advance payment bond – a common challenge for exporters in the sector. It was able to secure this through its bank, while a guarantee from UKEF meant there was no requirement for a deposit. This allowed the company to deliver on an international, multimillion pound contract and strengthen its presence in the global marketplace.

UKEF support can be transformative UK exporters of all sizes, like Chemian Technology and Flamgard Calidair, who export to markets all over the world. We help companies get the finance and support they need to realise their exporting ambitions; so, whether you’re looking to expand your export sales competing for a large overseas contract, UKEF is here to help.

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