As far as Vyncke is concerned, there aren’t any ‘problem’ countries any more. Solid support and the right trade finance solutions create security and peace of mind: ‘However unfamiliar the destination, if we abide by the contract, KBC will make payment.’
Feeling secure in far-flung parts
The installation that Vyncke recently built for a textile plant for the City Group in Bangladesh provides a perfect symbol of what they do. The plant wanted to switch from fossil to biomass fuels for its energy generation. ‘Perfect for us, because we specialise in green energy’, CEO Dieter Vyncke says.
Energy installations – often customised – are a typical project business. And the clients come from the most distant corners of the world. Vyncke doesn’t know them and they don’t know Vyncke. The risks are clear on both sides.
The solutions come primarily from KBC Corporate Banking, because the trade finance solutions are about promoting mutual trust even more than they are about providing finance.
Trade Finance means countering export risks
Diederik Dumon, Vyncke’s CFO, sums up the risks that need to be overcome: ‘First and foremost we want certainty of payment as soon as we take on the job. Since we will be investing heavily in engineering in the initial stage of a project, we ask for a substantial advance. But the client is looking for certainty too and wants an advance payment bond and often a performance bond as well.
All these needs are pretty complex, given the time, technology, distance and large sums of money involved. The professional support of a bank that knows us well and that we trust is therefore vital.’
With their trade finance formulas, KBC helps us counter all these risks.
The miracle of the documentary credit
The question of whether it will actually get paid is crucial to any exporter, particularly if it does not confine itself to ‘safe’ Europe. Getting money out of a client can be a lot more difficult if they are located on the other side of the world. And the political risks certainly haven’t diminished in recent years.
‘We solve that problem with documentary credits’, Diederik Dumon explains. ‘The letter of credit is drawn up by the client’s bank, confirming that it will act as guarantor for the client and will pay up when we present certain documents proving that we, the beneficiary, have executed a particular phase of the contract.’
‘Hence the term documentary credit’, Bart Popelier adds. As company accountant, Popelier is in daily contact with the KBC team in order to draw up and implement agreements of this kind. To rule out the political and bank risk, KBC confirms the L/C, thereby in practice taking over the surety. From that moment on, everyone at Vyncke can sleep soundly.
If we execute the contract correctly and deliver the documents, we will get paid via KBC. That solves the first trust issue.
Over to KBC
Dieter Vyncke has firmly opted for KBC: ‘Vyncke works with several different banks, but for trade finance, we’ve switched more or less entirely to KBC. Especially since they raised the limits for guarantee lines. The international trust the bank enjoys is another reason for working with KBC. KBC’s good rating is crucial to us and we check it every day. What’s more, KBC has good access to international bodies, which take a considerably more flexible stance towards our big projects. That makes it easy for KBC to share the risks, which means bigger projects are possible.’
They are not easily put off by a project at KBC. It helps that they have known us for so long and know us so well.
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The financial challenges of IBA
those wishing to export expensive capital goods to such markets.