British businesses received £4.3 billion worth of support from the government through UK Export Finance in 2012-13, the highest figure in 12 years.
They have been given export credit guarantees and insurance on transactions ranging from as little as £4,000 to as much as £2 billion. The aerospace industry, for example, has received support worth £1.83 billion.
UKEF provided support to companies of all sizes, including thousands of SMEs who have benefited indirectly through the supply chains of large customers supported.
Some of the sums UKEF contributed include: £2 billion for Typhoon aircraft and spare parts to Oman; £59 million to redevelop a hospital in Ghana for the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; £26 million in support for satellites to Russia; £280,000 support for transport consultancy in Gambia.
Minister for trade, Lord Green, said: “UKEF is contributing to the healing and rebalancing of the economy. It’s particularly pleasing to see more SMEs taking advantage of the services and products UKEF offers, and I am sure the new network of regional export finance advisers will help more SMEs seize opportunities to export next year.”
According to acting chief executive, David Havelock, UKEF’s pipeline for 2013-14 in terms of large project business “is the highest for many year and short term products are gaining real traction in the SME space.”
UKEF provides guarantees to banks offering loans to overseas buyers of UK goods and services and insurance to exporters against the risk of not getting paid. When banks or credit insurers are unable to provide sufficient support, UKEF can step in.
Jim Bligh, CBI head of exports policy, welcomed the news but also warned: “There is plenty of work still to do to boost our export performance to fast-growing economies. UKTI and UKEF need to do more to market their services to companies, with two-thirds of SMEs unaware of either. The Government should introduce a tax credit to help these smaller firms explore overseas markets and make sure existing finance schemes are wrapped into the planned Business Bank.”