|Dear Credit Insurance Colleague
Welcome to issue 20 of Credit Insurance News Digest: 5-19 March 2013 brought to you by Credit Insurance News (www.creditinsurancenews.co.uk).
This issue is kindly sponsored by CMR Insurance Services.
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Credit Insurance News
Coface expects trade credit insurance growth in the UAE. GTR has published an article, 'Coface expects TCI growth in the UAE', which advises that trade credit insurance (TCI) volumes in the UAE are expected to grow by 50% within two years, according to Coface. Coface’s quarterly country risk assessment survey reveals TCI currently stands at AED20 billion in the GCC, and will continue to grow as the region, a major import and re-export hub, remains volatile. Gregory Le Henand, Coface’s GCC country manager, commented: “Whilst oil prices remain high at around US$115 per barrel, GDP rates continue to underpin public spending and safeguard trade which is the lifeblood of Dubai’s economy.” To view the full article go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2013/March/Coface-expects-TCI-growth-in-the-UAE_10748.shtml.
A multi-country approach to Political Risk. Global Reinsurance.com has published an article, 'Political and trade credit risk: the new way of doing business', which advises that firms are increasingly switching to a multi-country approach to manage their political and trade credit risks. In addition to Marsh's report, 'Taking a Multi-Country Approach to Political Risk and Trade Credit Insurance' (see Digest: issue 19), Euler Hermes chief economist and director of economic research Ludovic Subran also agrees that more firms are going down the multi-country route as they seek to diversify their risk base. In contrast, ACE Group global head of trade credit Stuart James said that his clients were still buying on a country-by-country basis and preferred to bundle together their trade credit and political risks. To view the article go to http://www.globalreinsurance.com/political-and-trade-credit-risk-the-new-way-of-doing-business/1401477.article.
CIFS predicts pain in the construction sector. CIFS has published an article, 'Selby on Construction', in which CIFS Risk Underwriter and construction sector specialist, Ian Selby, comments on the latest ONS figures which, at 0.9% growth, show a relatively buoyant growth in private housing and infrastructure. In addition, construction output is predicted to rise in 2014. However, Ian warns: "There will be an awful lot of pain between now and then." According to the Construction Skills Network it will be 2022 before pre-recession levels of output will be reached again, while the outlook for business failures in this sector is a cause of concern. As a result, Ian says: “Businesses serving the construction sector will need to be more proactive and assertive than ever in gaining an understanding of their customers’ financial position." To view the article on CIFS' website go to http://creditindemnity.com/selby-on-construction/.
Strategic partnership will promote the use of credit insurance. Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters has published an article, 'New CME-EDC partnership will help exporters expand their business abroad', which advises that a new strategic partnership between Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), the country's largest trade and industry association, and Export Development Canada (EDC) will promote the use of credit insurance. "Credit insurance is a standard business practice for companies in Europe, which gives them a competitive edge in the types of payments terms they can offer their customers," commented EDC President & CEO, Stephen Poloz. "We want to level the playing field by encouraging CME members to use credit insurance . . ." To view the article go to http://www.cme-mec.ca/?action=show&lid=JCKNC-E742G-1W6JA&cid=QRKLN-U3UDZ-ZRAWC&comaction=show.
Case study: CIFS’ underwriting philosophy and the decline of Burdens. CIFS has published a new article, 'Behind Burdens', which chronicles the decline of Burdens and describes that way in which meaningful and open communications between CIFS' underwriters and distressed companies (like Burdens) provides policyholders with sustained business benefit. The article describes the steps which were taken before cover was finally withdrawn, and how when Burdens finally went into administration the impact on CIFS' policyholders was minimised. To view the article on CIFS' website go to http://creditindemnity.com/behind-burdens/.
Mike Feldwick of Tinubu Square discusses the importance of using accurate intelligence. IQ (Insider Quarterly) has published an article, 'Should I stay or should I go', by Mike Feldwick, head of UK and Ireland at Tinubu Square, which describes some of the difficulties credit insurers face in the current economic climate. Mr Feldwick looks in particular at issues surrounding 'zombie companies', most of which will not fail despite their current issues, and examines the challenges they pose to credit insurers: "Should an insurer turn them away or instead take a calculated risk?" In response, the article examines the benefits of available and accurate intelligence, and examines the ways in which some credit insurers and many credit brokers are already using credit risk management solutions. To view the full article go to http://www.insiderquarterly.com/should-i-stay-or-should-i-go-.
Coface opens representative office in Jakarta. TheAsset.com has published an article, 'Coface opens representative office in Jakarta', which advises that Coface has opened an official representative office in Jakarta to provide better support to its local partner, PT Adira Dinamika Asuransi (Adira), to promote trade credit management in Indonesia. Indra Baruna, president of Adira Insurance, commented: “We are one of Indonesia’s largest insurance companies, and have for some time recognized a need for trade credit insurance. With the support of Coface, we can build a platform of credit related services to satisfy the market, and make a direct contribution to the development of trade credit insurance in Indonesia.” To view the article go to http://www.theasset.com/article/23816.html.
February is the worst week for collecting invoice receipts throughout the whole year. Director of Finance online has published an article, 'Calls for 'crushing domino effect' of late pay epidemic to be halted', which advises that Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance has announced that the last week in February, is the worst week for collecting invoice receipts throughout the whole year. John Atkinson, Head of Commercial Business, Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: “Last year February was our lowest level month for collections and payment, 15% less than the monthly average, as the movement of finances sees a dramatic slowdown in terms of collections. Clients hold off paying until after the first week of March, which gives them an additional month’s credit, but can severely affect the businesses at the end of the payment chain – effectively creating a domino effect, potentially crushing the hard working SME sector." To view the full article go to http://www.dofonline.co.uk/content/view/6901/152/.
New Industry Reports and Financial Results
Coface's Country Risk Conference confirms that more than ever the world seems to be split in two: advanced versus emerging countries. Coface has published its latest Country Panorama Country Risk report based on the discussions and finding of its 17th Country Risk Conference held on 22 January 2013. Contents include: 'Challenges for a world divided into two parts' by Jean-Marc Pillu, 'The United States, a declining power?' by Nouriel Roubini, 'Revival of competitiveness: tools for European industry' by Louis Gallois, 'The emerging countries: New order, new stakes, new strategy?' by Pierre Sellal. For an overview of the conference and a link to the full report in PDF format go to http://www.coface.com/CofacePortal/COM_en_EN/pages/home/Publications/Risk_overview.
Euler Hermes report sees a stark contrast in sector trends between Europe and the U.S. Euler Hermes has published its latest sector report which analyses the sharply contrasted trends in global sectors in the early part of 2013. Ludovic Subran, Euler Hermes’ chief economist, commented: “The gap continues to widen, particularly between Europe and the United States, with a substantial rebound in US manufacturing output, up by 4.2% in 2012 versus a fall of 2.2% in the European Union, with a particularly pronounced contraction of 2.5% in the Eurozone.” Sector wise, the automotive industry is the clearest example,” explained Nicolas Delzant, Chairman of Euler Hermes France’s Board of Management, “with sales growth of 13% in the United States in 2012 while sales in Europe were down steeply, by 8% overall and by 14% in France.” To view the report go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/new-regional-balances-europe-united-states-stark-contrast-in-sector-trends.aspx.
Atradius predicts muted growth in the eurozone in 2013. Atradius has published a video clip on YouTube in which its chief Economist, John Lorié, gives his predictions for the world economy in 2013. Mr Lorié advises that economic growth in the eurozone is expected to stagnate in the first half of 2013, but some growth may be visible in the second-half. Asia Pacific, Latin America and emerging Europe are economies which are expected to perform most strongly. Some muted growth in the some eurozone countries is also expected: 1% growth for Germany, 0.4% for France. The UK is predicted to grow by 1.5% overall, while the the U.S. economy is expected to see growth of 1.9-2%. To view the clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3vWrftrQ2Y.
Coastal Insurance Brokers raise the awareness of the UK timber trade to fraud. In a recent article in the Timber Trade Journal, Alan Sarling advised that there has been a noticeable increase in attempted frauds involving ID fraudster’s masquerading as employees of bona fide companies. Fraudsters commonly use the creditworthiness of a legitimate company, and provide the story that they are temporarily working in the area and need a quick delivery to an address not connected to the company. Mr Sarling commented ‘this type of fraud is on the increase and the trade needs to be systematic in following up orders taken over the phone with all the necessary credit checking because, in most cases, the discrepancies become apparent pretty quickly”. Coastal have produced a checklist on how companies can avoid falling prey to these scams. For a copy contact Derek Barnett on 01376 566874, email email@example.com or visit www.coastalcib.co.uk.
Atradius has reported profit before tax of €156.2 million for its 2012 financial year, with a 3% increase in revenue to €1,601.6 million. Overall insurance revenue improvements were led by an increase in insurable sales by existing customers, but were also positively influenced by an increase in new business. Together, Atradius’ Global and Asia units represent 23% of total credit insurance revenue. Global revenue increased 8.1% and Asia revenue increased 18.6% in 2012. Insurance revenue grew by at least 5% in most regions. To view Atradius' press release go to http://global.atradius.com/corporate/pressreleases/atradius-profit-before-tax-eur-1562-million-on-3-increase-in-revenue.html.
UK Trade & Export Finance Conference. Exporta Group has announced that it will be holding its inaugural UK Trade & Export Finance Conference in the UK on 11 June 2013. Organised with the support of the UK’s leading trade bodies and the country’s leading financial institutions, the purpose of the event is to bring British companies of all sizes together to discuss how best to increase UK export volumes in light of the various economic challenges faced, from stifling austerity measures to the ongoing problems in the Eurozone region. There will also be a special evening networking reception. For more information about the conference go to http://www.exportagroup.com/events/conferences/UK-Trade-&-Export-Finance-Conference_402/. A 15% discount is available to readers of Credit Insurance News Digest. Please contact Tom Whitehead, head of business development (firstname.lastname@example.org) for further information.
Marsh webcast: Doing Business in Distressed and Emerging Economies. Marsh is holding a webcast on 20 March, 'New Reality of Risk', in which leaders from Marsh's Political Risk and Trade Credit Practice will discuss and advise of strategies to manage the risks of doing business in distressed or emerging economies. A question and answer session will follow. For more information and to register for the event go to http://usa.marsh.com/NewsInsights/ThoughtLeadership/Articles/ID/29134/utm_source/linkedin/utm_medium/social/utm_campaign/linkedin.aspx. To submit questions prior to the webcast email email@example.com.
Exporting, payment terms and credit insurance. The Scottish International Trade Network is holding an event, 'Money Matters - getting paid for international transactions', on Thursday, 21 March 2013 from 18:00 to 20:00 at HSBC, Hobart House, 80 Hanover Street, Edinburgh. Esther Rae, Commercial Business Consultant at Euler Hermes UK, will talk about how exporting businesses can protect export credit sales from both a commercial and a political risk perspective. Esther will also highlight how companies can safely grow their export sales by using credit insurance to target the right customers, and the most appropriate terms of payment. Ken Craig, HSBC Senior International Business Manager, Global Trade and Receivables Finance, will also present. For more information or to sign-up to the event go to http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/event/5113047262/eorg#.
Webinar to discuss Tinubu Square' s credit insurance policy and ledger management tool. Tinubu Square is hosting a webinar in English which will enable subscribers to find out how they could mitigate their risk and automate and streamline their credit management and credit insurance management processes. The event takes place on Thursday March 28th at 10am and will be hosted by Mark Avery. Places are restricted and should be reserved by 22 March. To register go to http://inescrm.net/maxhd/helpdesk.dll/portail?AMKldMLAxJ2ZCJI7J2NqljQBMKBoOKxiDLBVOLBdNE$$2NqljQ7QaNdLr7ZNXol. Once registered, you will receive an email confirmation with information about how to access the webinar.
Career Opportunities and New Appointments.
Business Development Executive, South East. (Ref: #235118-mh1601), Salary £30,000-£35,000 Basic. OTE £50,000.
One of the world's leading credit insurance providers is recruiting for a Business Development Executive. A purely new business position, the new sales consultant will be expected to develop new business contacts with a range of SME clients, dealing primarily with MD's, FD's and Commercial Directors. You will receive a full company induction and training course and will benefit from an uncapped commission scheme, fully expensed company car, pension, and other benefits. Applicants must have the following skills: field sales experience, proven new business sales track record (ideally in financial services, insurance, banking or business information), a stable work history and the ability to self-generate leads. For more information or to apply go to http://www.bms-uk.com/node/80240. Alternatively contact Jay Rehncy on 01784 414728. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).
Credit Analyst, London. (Ref 27675). Salary: £27,000 - £35,000.
An excellent opportunity in a highly regarded brokerage in London has arisen for a Credit Analyst. The jobholder will: develop strong relationships with clients, ensure transactions are conducted with full transparency, advise clients on the credit risks for buyers, industry sectors and countries, behave with all clients (both internal and external) fairly and ethically. The ideal applicant will have previously worked as a Risk Underwriter within a credit Insurance environment and will demonstrate an ability to understand financial accounts and be able to comment on the trends and issues affecting the business in formulating a credit opinion. To view the full job description go to http://www.lawesrecruitment.co.uk/jobs/city/operational/credit-analyst-london/1476/. To apply or for more information call 02034 118430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).
Credit insurance Account/Business Development Executive. Salary: £30,000 - £45,000 DOE.
Specialist Credit Insurance Broker with a presence in various key strategic locations across the UK, is looking to recruit an experienced credit insurance Account/Business Development Executive to join its established team. Whilst our client welcomes applications from candidates willing to work remotely from any location throughout the UK, it is particularly keen to speak to applicants in the South West of England. As well as a generous basic salary and excellent bonus, you will benefit from a robust broking support function, which is very much geared towards new business. For more information, please call Richard Jones on 08458 388490 or email email@example.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).
Trade Credit New Business Producer, Cardiff (Ref: 27621). Salary: £30,000 - £35,000.
An established and reputable insurance company is looking for a Trade Credit New Business Producer for their Cardiff office. The role is essentially to help grow the business, open doors, sell the brand and become part of the company's expansion. This is an external, field based role but will require the job holder to visit the Cardiff office once or twice weekly. Requirements for the role include: extensive experience as a New Business Producer within the credit market (preferably with working exposure to the Wales region), a proven sales track record, excellent presentation and communication skills. To view the full job description go to http://www.lawesrecruitment.co.uk/jobs/uk/trade-credit-new-business-producer-cardiff/1004/ and/or for further information phone 01179 113730 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).
Head of Credit Risk, Munich, Germany. Competitive package.
A top global insurance house is seeking a Head of Credit Risk reporting to the Group Head and Chief Risk Officer. The opportunity will involve day to day management responsibilities of a team of four senior credit risk officers, covering counterparties within the following segments; Financial Institutions, Non-Bank Financial Institutions, Sovereign and Corporates. You will have a proven senior credit decisioning background along with direct management experience of senior credit analysts in either an Investment Management company, Insurer, Investment Bank or Rating House. German language highly desirable, though not a pre-requisite. Please contact Vince Daphu (email@example.com) at Eversearch International for a discreet discussion. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).
CIFS' new team member. CIFS has announced the appointment of Mark Rogers to its Risk Underwriting team. Mark joins CIFS after nearly 4 years at Coface where he held new business and portfolio risk underwriter positions. He will fill a new role at CIFS, focused on assessing credit limits at the enquiry stage and working closely with the new business team in support of CIFS’ expanding new business programme.
Business Information: Recommended Reports and Business Shorts
High street distress is the ‘new normal’. Ernst & Young has published a news release, 'High street distress is the ‘new normal’, according to Ernst & Young’s retail survey', which advises that following a prolonged period of distress on the high street and a spate of high profile insolvencies, lacking a relevant proposition to attract today’s consumer and onerous store portfolios have been pin-pointed as some of the key drivers that may lead to an increase in retail insolvencies in 2013. Julie Carlyle, partner and head of UK retail at Ernst & Young, commented: “It is clear when looking at the number of retailers which have reported strong performances and then at the number of administrations we have seen over recent weeks, that there is an increasing polarisation of the UK high street. The gap between winners and losers has been especially stark in 2012. Those that are struggling have been unable to keep pace with rapid change of technology and consumer behaviour." To view the news release on Ernst & Young's website go to http://www.ey.com/UK/en/Newsroom/News-releases/13-03-15---High-street-distress-is-the-new-normal.
The Forum of Private Business criticises one of the UK's largest department stores. The Forum of Private Business has criticised one of the UK's largest department stores after it learned suppliers were being instructed to make discounts of at least 2% on invoices. Debenhams made the demand in a letter sent out to linen suppliers earlier this month, in which it also said it "expected" them to charge back to factories to make the required saving. The move, which Debenhams said only affected a small number of suppliers, was said by the company to reflect the strong performance of certain product categories. To view the full news release go to http://www.fpb.org/news_archive.asp.
27% of construction firms across the UK at risk of failure in the next 12 months. R3 has advised that recent official ONS data showing a fall in construction output in January tallies with R3's own research which shows that over a quarter (27%) of construction firms across the UK are at risk of failure in the next 12 months. This figure compares to 21% of businesses at risk overall. In total, 62,310 construction and civil engineering companies registered in the UK are at risk of collapse. Lee Manning, R3 President, commented: “Difficulties in raising funding for development, together with the cuts in public spending, are both key issues facing the industry. Due to public sector contracts drying up it is understandable the construction sector is struggling.The ‘crane count’ in towns in cities clearly indicates the fall in activity and there is little relief in sight. To view R3's news release go to http://www.r3.org.uk/index.cfm?page=1114&element=17988&refpage=1008.
Despite a tough start to the year for manufacturers, brighter signs are ahead. According to the first quarter manufacturing outlook survey published by EEF and BDO, Britain’s manufacturers have endured a tough start to the year with conditions remaining around a three year low. Conditions remained difficult across a number of markets, but Europe again stands out as being especially challenging. However, the survey also shows there are signs that manufacturers could see conditions turn around in the coming quarter with output and orders balances expected to recover back to levels seen in the early part of last year in the next quarter. In particular there is a notable improvement in the proportion of companies planning for growth in overseas sales in the next three months and, importantly, this trend is fairly widespread across most manufacturing sectors. To view the full article go to http://www.bdo.uk.com/press/tough-start-year-manufacturers-brighter-signs-ahead-eef-bdo-survey.
FSB's first economic report of 2013 suggests tentative signs of growing optimism among small businesses ahead of the Budget. According to the FSB's results from its quarter 1 2013 'Voice of Small Business' Index, firms' confidence has increased, but their investment intentions have fallen as the domestic economy and access to finance act as a barrier to growth. The report also indicated that fewer businesses expect to grow this year – down from 56% in Q1 2012 to 54% in 2013. To view the FSB's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.fsb.org.uk/News.aspx?loc=pressroom&rec=7985.
BCC Economic Forecast advises that UK growth reduced in 2013 & 2014, but prospects will improve gradually. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has published its latest economic forecast, which sees UK growth in 2013 revised downwards from 1.0% to 0.6% in 2013, and from 1.8% to 1.7% in 2014. However, prospects should improve in the medium term: with the BCC forecasting growth in 2015 of 2.2%. David Kern, BCC Chief Economist, commented: “Talk of a new recession is currently pessimistic. The ONS’ own data revisions raise doubts as to whether there was in fact a recession early in 2012. Following the 0.3% fall in Q4 2012, GDP is likely to increase by 0.1% in Q1 2013. We expect quarterly growth to increase very gradually over the next two years, but it will remain modest and below-trend for some time." To view the BCC's news release with a link to the full report go to http://www.britishchambers.org.uk/press-office/press-releases/bcc-economic-forecast-uk-growth-reduced-in-2013-and-2014,-but-prospects-will-improve-gradually.html#.UUB5VVcnKE8.
Scottish economy showing genuine growth – but is it sustainable? According to the latest Economic Commentary from the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, sponsored by PwC, the Scottish economy showed evidence of genuine growth in the third quarter of 2012. However, doubts still linger on whether this improvement can be sustained, with survey evidence suggesting a weakening in the final quarter of last year and uncertain prospects for 2013. GDP growth is now forecast to be 0.9% in 2013 and 1.7% in 2014, a lowering of the Institute's forecast in November, rising further to 1.9% in 2015. To view the full news release go to http://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/News-Releases/Scottish-economy-showing-genuine-growth-but-is-it-sustainable-1386.aspx.
The UK High Street: Who's UP/Who's DOWN
UP: Cineword: The popularity of Skyfall (now the most successful British film) has had a positive impact on the profits of cinema chain Cineworld. The group has reported a 15.3% increase in pre-tax profits to £38.5 million for 2012, with a 3.1% increase in revenue to £358.7 million. The results were driven by sales of food and drink, rather than ticket sales - although sales to the James Bond film exceeded expectations and a price hike also increased overall revenue. Looking ahead, Cineworld plans to open 25 more cinema multiplexes by 2017.
UP: Inditex, the owner of high-street Fashion retailer Zara and the world's largest clothing retailer, has reported that its full year net profit increased by 22% to €2.36 billion and annual revenue increased by 16% to €15.9 billion. Like-for-like store sales rose by 6%. Sales were driven by new store openings (482 in total), especially in new markets such as Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ecuador, Georgia, Armenia and Macedonia. An online store has also opened in China. Looking ahead, Inditex intends to further increase its number of stores by between 440 and 480 in 2013.
UP: John Lewis has announced that in the year to 26 January its operating profit rose by 37.2% to £216.7 million, with gross sales increasing by 9.3% to £9.5 billion. As a result, staff (all of whom are partners) at John Lewis will receive a share of a £210.8 million bonus - a cash boost equivalent to 17% of their annual salary. Looking ahead, the group plans to launch dedicated French and German websites and extend its presence in prestigious department stores around the world. John Lewis credits its successful online business as a primary driver of its current success.
UP: Argos and Homebase owner Home Retail Group has reported strong sales and now predicts profits of around £90 million in the year to 2 March - up from the £83 million previously predicted in January (this is the second time the Group has raised it annual profits forecast in 2013). Argos performed particularly strongly: like-for-like sales over the past eight weeks were up 5.2% on the same period last year, while for the full year Argos' total sales were £3.93 billion, with like-for-like sales up by 2.1%. The results were driven by strong demand for tablet computers and online channels (which now account for 40% of total sales).
Down: French Connection. Following a difficult year and Christmas period, French Connection has advised that it has seen a £10.5 million pre-tax loss in the year to 31 January. Sales overall decreased from £215.4 million to £197.3 million. Like-for-like sales were particularly weak in the UK - down 7%, with an operating loss of £16 million in the UK and Europe. Looking ahead, the retailer hopes that changes to its UK operation, including offloading up to 15 of its under-performing UK stores and developing its online business, will enable it to break even in two years time.
The cost of recent failures: Jessops and HMV.
Jessops: Following the collapse of Jessops in January, The Sunday Telegraph has reported that creditors were left with £81 million owed in unpaid debt - £19.6 million of which is unlikely to be repaid. Canon, Nixon and Sony are reputed to be among Jessops' unsecured creditors. However, HSBC, Jessops' largest creditor (owed £28.8 million) is set to take the largest hit.
HMV: HMV went into administration in January owing more than £350 million, including £237.1 million to unsecured creditors - the vast majority of whom are likely to go unpaid. Administrators have received many expressions of interest in buying the retailer, with ASDA and Hilco rumoured to be among the strongest contenders.
About this Issue's Sponsor: CMR Insurance Services
CMR Insurance Services specialises in providing credit insurance services through its unique insurance program which we manage on behalf of companies seeking credit protection.
Under the program, we cover more than £400 million in insurable sales, and provide credit limits of £250 million across a broad spectrum of trade sectors. We work exclusively with Atradius and over 25 years have built up our experience in this segment by regularly meeting both our clients and introducers on a face to face basis.
Speed of response and direct contact mark CMR out from the crowd.
Credit Insurance News Digests: Sponsorship
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