It is no secret that if the UK’s economy is to grow, it needs to export more. However, a key challenge for export business is securing funding.
One solution that Bathgate Business Finance has found to both successfully navigate some of these challenges and maximise business opportunities is the General Export Facility (GEF). Although many mainstream banks are signed up to the scheme, primarily they are focussing on facilities more than £250K, which does leave a gap in the marketplace.
In the past 12 months Bathgate has successfully brokered seven GEF facilities totalling almost £1.4 million with a specialist funder, for businesses in the city region.
Paul Trickett, BDM from Bathgate Business Finance, said:
“GEF truly is export finance’s best kept secret. It was launched almost three years ago now, but many eligible businesses still do not know about the scheme.”
The GEF was launched in December 2020 to help UK exporters by providing a government guarantee to lenders of up to 80% of the credit risk.
The facility Bathgate has introduced to clients, allows the drawdown of single or multiple loans, with a minimum value of £26K and can be loaned over a period of 12 months, with a minimum term of three months. There is also flexibility within the loan terms, in that existing loans do not need to be repaid in full before further can be made*
“This flexibility helps clients to borrow in line with cash flow requirements and reduce the impact of interest costs. The GEF is particularly suitable for seasonal businesses, projects incurring substantial pre-sales costs, instances where stock finance is required and where supplier terms may impact on trade cycle, which in turn affects cash flow.”
Bathgate used the GEF to secure £250,000 for a renewables firm, which needed upfront cash-flow to enable them to start a £1.8 million contract with an international client and pursue other significant contracts lined up through projects in Europe and the Far East.
As with many businesses in the sector, cash flow in the period between tendering and gaining projects is always a challenge and Bathgate was asked to identify a solution to raise £250k, to help smooth out some of the bumps.
Further obstacles included the fact that the business held no assets on their UK balance sheet, owing to being a subsidiary of an internationally based company, as well as the company directors not wishing to inject additional capital and being averse to support with any kind of guarantees.
While this greatly limited the market, the team at Bathgate identified GEF as a product that would suit the client’s needs perfectly, navigating the obstacles it faced and providing the flexibility in terms of value, number of drawdowns and favourable early settlement terms.
“This deal was put together by the Bathgate team in four weeks, which is significant pace given the complexity of the circumstances, and the client was approved to a £250k limit, with an initial drawdown of £165k, allowing them to start their contract with their international client.
“We know there are so many businesses struggling to secure finance in similar circumstances, so we think it’s important that any business that exports know about the GEF so they can decide if it could support their own objectives and export plans.”
*Subject to overall maximum agreed limit