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Government agency focused on helping SMEs grow their export business.

UK Export Finance (UKEF) is working to deliver the government’s export strategy. It helps exporters by providing guarantees and insurance policies to complement those on offer in the private sector along with guidance on sources of export finance.

For small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) UKEF’s support is provided through its Trade Finance and Insurance Solutions Group, which includes a team of regional export finance advisers that works alongside UK Trade & Investment’s international trade advisers. This team has supported more than 170 small and medium-sized businesses with almost £1bn worth of contract values since March 2011.

For larger deals, UKEF’s Business Group provides support through guarantees of bank loans made to the overseas buyer or its bank.  In the last financial year, these operations have provided UK businesses with £2.3bn of support.

When private sector export insurance cover is unavailable, UK businesses can turn to UKEF’s Export Insurance Policy (EXIP) to protect against the risk of their buyer not paying.

Recent successes

UKEF recently supported JCB through its EXIP in North Africa and other markets and David Barton, Group Export Finance Manager, JCB says: ‘Without trade credit insurance we’d have had to ask the dealer for cash or letters of credit, which would have affected their cash flow and our relationship.  The help from UKEF has enabled us to trade on an open account basis. As a result, we can accept orders, build the machinery and send the shipment on credit terms that are helpful to the dealer.’

Meanwhile, for a contract in China, UKEF shared risk with Techflow Marine’s bank enabling it to double its 2013 turnover from £4.6m to £10m. Graham Clark, director, Techflow Marine, says: ‘UKEF’s Bond Support Scheme is helping us to grow. Without its help, this contract would have been too big for us.’

Contacting UKEF

If you feel that UKEF can help support SME clients keen to grow, call UKEF’s national customer service helpline on 020 7271 8010, email UKEF or visit their website to learn more.

Article contributed by ACCA