By Carol Harvey, Export Finance Manager, UK Export Finance

Across Scotland there are businesses selling their services and wares to the world, and yet there are still thousands of firms that could export but don’t. UK Export Finance is here to help.

Scottish companies have a proud history of doing business overseas, and certainly punch above their weight compared to the rest of the UK. A recent report from HM Revenue and Customs shows that Scottish exports are rising 1.6% faster than the UK average, with a total value of £28.8 billion.

Companies that export are more profitable, create more jobs and are more productive – and yet there are still businesses across Scotland that are not taking advantage of these opportunities. Why is that?

There are many potential factors, but one is almost certainly lack of available finance and insurance from the private sector. Even if companies have a great idea or product, they may lack the working capital to take on a big export contract or would find their cashflow restricted were they to take one on. This could render them unable to take on new business or make them unwilling to take on the risks of selling overseas.

That’s where we come in.

What is UK Export Finance (UKEF)?

UKEF is the UK’s export credit agency and a government department, and our mission is to ensure that no viable UK export fails for lack of finance or insurance from the private sector.

We help companies of all sizes and from all sectors, and have a network of export finance managers (EFMs) across the UK who check that companies are getting the right export finance support and to help them bridge any gaps.

How do we help Scottish businesses?

UKEF can help exporters:

  • Win export contracts by providing attractive financing terms
  • Fulfil orders by supporting working capital loans or contract bonds
  • Get paid by insuring against buyer default

Last year we supported for Scottish exporters to the tune of £62 million, resulting in almost £79 million worth of overseas sales.

One such company was the Falkirk-based bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, which received a bank guarantee from UKEF on a 1 billion Mexican peso (£44 million) contract to export 90 low-emission buses to Mexico City.

To give another example, UKEF supported the UK-arm of Forum Energy Technologies, based in Aberdeen, with a buyer credit facility worth £14.1 million to secure a contract to design and build remotely operated vehicles to a project in Nigeria.

We are also particularly active in supporting suppliers to the Scottish energy sector, which helps not only those companies, but the thousands of smaller firms in the supply chain.

These SMEs can also benefit from our new bank partnership signed with five major high-street banks, which will allow them to access millions of pounds of government support in mere moments, just by talking to their bank manager.