There is a global demand for UK manufacturing. Louis Taylor explains how government-backed finance can make the difference.
Last month, EEF forecast a 2% increase in factory output for 2018, outpacing the 1.5% growth predicted for the wider economy.
This is significant – the UK is one of the largest manufacturing economies in the world. Manufacturing is at the very heart of the UK economy, and crucially, it is also at the heart of UK exports – worth nearly £270bn in 2017.
Here lies the key to the sector’s future and enduring success.
The question is, how can you make sure you’re ready to seize the export opportunities for your business that lie in other markets to ensure its growth in 2018?
The UK’s rich history as a manufacturing nation, the prestige associated with British goods, and their unmatched quality, means that the demand and appetite for UK goods around the world should not be underestimated.
As the CEO of UK Export Finance (UKEF), the government department that provides finance and insurance to help make exports happen, I talk to UK businesses and overseas buyers every day – from SMEs in the West Midlands to some of the world’s biggest companies from all over the globe.
No matter who I talk to, the message is always clear: the international opportunities for UK manufacturers are there, waiting to be seized.
This article first appeared in the April issue of The Manufacturer magazine. To subscribe, please click here.
UK Export Finance is a co-host of The Manufacturer’s upcoming Manufacturing Finance Summit.
Manufacturing Finance Summit is the UK’s largest gathering of manufacturing finance professionals – 80 growth-minded executives from across automotive, aerospace, defence, electronics, food & drink and FMCG – coming together to examine how the finance function is transforming.
Rather than sitting through endless PowerPoint presentations, our unique Summit discussion format lets you sit next to the experts and ask questions that matter most to your business.
Join the conversation by securing your seat at the Manufacturing Finance Summit – 16 May 2018, Oxford.
The competition for big prizes
However, to win international business, you need to have the best possible offer, because while reaching new customers in new markets is a great way for businesses to grow, the greater the opportunities, the greater the competition.
So, how can you be more competitive internationally? And how can you ensure that your finances match the scale of your ambition?
That’s where we come in. UKEF is the UK’s export credit agency – we help UK companies win, fulfil and get paid for export contracts.
From contract bonds to working capital loans to export credit insurance: when you can’t get the support you need from your high-street bank or insurer alone, we’re here to help.
With government-backed finance or insurance from UKEF, you can make your offer more attractive, more flexible and more scalable.
Because even if you have a world-leading product, we know things like managing cash flow can restrict your ability to take on new contracts, finance large orders, or win important new business by offering your buyer the payment terms they prefer.
UKEF can provide 80% guarantees on working capital loans, and we can do the same with contract bonds. This means with UKEF support you can access the cash you need, when you need it, while giving your buyer the security they want.
Overseas buyers, especially in important markets like India and the Middle East, increasingly expect flexible credit terms. Being able to offer them this can give you an edge over your competition.
While UKEF can improve your access to cash, UKEF also offers export credit insurance; meaning even if your buyer defaults, you’ll still get paid – even in emerging markets that traditional insurers may not cover.
Using UKEF support, you can make a competitive financial offer a central part of your strategy for winning and growing your overseas sales.
So, the next time you’re considering exporting, consider whether UKEF could give you the edge you need to win.
Louis Taylor, CEO UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the UK’s export credit agency
Before joining UKEF, Louis held a range of senior roles at Standard Chartered Bank, including from 2013-15 as COO of Group Treasury, based in London.
Prior to that, he spent three years as the bank’s CEO for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, based in Ho Chi Minh City.