Welcome to issue 32 of Credit Insurance News Digest, 12 December 2013. This issue is kindly sponsored by S&P Capital IQ.

  • Credit Insurance News
  • Credit Insurance Reports
  • Industry Events and Offers
  • Business Info:  Recommended Reports and UK Retailers: Who's UP/Who's DOWN
  • Career Opportunities and New Appointments
  • About this issue's sponsor
  • A Christmas Message from Credit Insurance News

Credit Insurance News
BCC partners with Euler Hermes to launch a new credit insurance service. A new service to protect businesses trading in the UK and internationally from late payment and insolvency has been launched through a partnership between the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and Euler Hermes. Chamber Credit Insurance has been developed exclusively for Chamber members of all sizes to help them better manage their trade risks and access insight about how to grow their business in both new and existing markets. David Riches, Commercial Director at the BCC commented: "Lack of market knowledge and political risks, including war and trading embargoes, pose a real threat to commerce and increasingly credit insurance is seen as the obvious solution." To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/British-Chambers-of-Commerce-partners-with-Euler-Hermes-to-protect-businesses-with-new-credit-insurance-service.aspx.

AMRAE report advises that conditions for credit insurance have tightened up. Commercial Risk Europe has published an article, 'Soft conditions in France but focus on risk management', which advises that, according to a recent report by AMRAE, conditions for credit insurance have tightened "a bit" in France, with lower limits and rates up to 10% higher for some contracts. However, the report also stresses that capacity is abundant in this sector and rate reductions can be obtained in particular circumstances. Anne-Marie Fournier, Vice-President of AMRAE, commented: "Insurers remain selective, although the criteria they use to select their clients vary from one company to another." To view the full article go to http://www.commercialriskeurope.com/cre/2847/56/Soft-conditions-in-France-but-focus-on-risk-management-AMRAE/.

Euler Hermes France launches EH Cover One for medium-term contracts. Euler Hermes France has announced the launch of EH Cover One, a new medium-term credit insurance solution that protects against breach of contract - particularly for capital goods and services transactions in France and abroad. Euler Hermes advises that the service applies to sale contracts with a term of up to 36 months and covers the risk of unpaid invoices following delivery, as well as the risk of a breach of contract (insolvency of the debtor, import or export license suspension, insurrection, confiscatory-type or fund transfer cancellation decision by a government, etc. ) by both public and private-sector buyers. Maria Modroño, head of marketing at Euler Hermes France, commented: "The key distinguishing feature of this coverage is its constancy, since the level of the guarantee is maintained over the life of the contract." To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Launch-of-EH-Cover-One-for-medium-term-contracts.aspx.

An appraisal of political risks across 197 countries: Political Risk Map and Atlas to be launched today. Marsh and Maplecroft have announced that they are holding a complimentary, one-hour webcast today (12 December, at 3pm GMT/10am EST) which will highlight key trends in emerging political risks for 2014 and beyond. The webinar will also preview the co-branded 2014 Political Risk Map and introduce the new Political Risk Atlas. The Political Risk Map is designed as a visual tool for investors and traders in emerging markets, and draws upon data from Maplecroft’s Political Risk Atlas - an appraisal of political risks across 197 countries. For more information about the Political Risk Map and Atlas and to register for the webinar go to http://uk.marsh.com/default.aspx?tabid=1560&ID=33938.

CIFS seminars stress that contract legislation is the key to prompt payment. CIFS has summarised some of the key points raised during its two recent seminars, presented in conjunction with law firm Hawkswell Kilvington, on how to be paid more quickly. Partner, Jonathan Kilvington, among other issues, highlighted new UK legislation in place applying to contracts entered into after 16 March 2013 which gives the right to claim the “reasonable costs” of recovering a debt up to the point where legal proceedings begin. Mr Kilvington advised that  although the courts have not yet tested the extent of reasonable costs, this power is already being applied "robustly". Copies of the slides from Jonathan Hawkswell’s presentation are available from CIFS' news release webpage at http://creditindemnity.com/cifs-seminars-stress-contract-legislation-key-to-prompt-payment/.

Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corp waives its annual policy fee for another year. The Standard has published an article, 'Policy fee waived as companies fear worst', which advises that Hong Kong Export Credit Insurance Corp has announced that it plans to waive its annual policy fee for another year. This decision follows a recent survey of 750 exporters - mostly SMEs - which showed that while 80% of local firms expect business to remain stable next year, up to 25% are concerned about rising credit risks and 30% of local firms are expecting orders to fall in 2014. The corporation decided to waive the annual policy fee in an attempt to help exporters, especially SMEs, cut operational costs. To view the article go to http://www.thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=2&art_id=139986&sid=40995504&con_type=1&d_str=20131127&fc=2.

Demand for selective, excess-of-loss solutions rather than whole turnover products in Asia. Insurance Day has published an article, 'More participants expected in Asia's trade credit market in 2014', which advises that Robert Nijhout, Executive Director of ICISA, expects greater demand in Asia for selective excess-of-loss credit insurance products rather than traditional whole turnover policies. He also advises that while ample reinsurance capacity and internal competition has resulted in lower premiums which may not "reflect the current risk environment", looking ahead premium increases should occur in most regions in 2014 - except Japan.To view the full article go to https://www.insuranceday.com/specialty/more-participants-expected-in-asias-trade-credit-markets-in-2014.htm. (Subscription only, free trials available). A copy of the article is also available on ICISA's website.

Coface warns of an increase in identity fraud over the festive season. itinews has published an article in which Coface South Africa warns that the festive season may once again see an increase in business identity theft, and cautions companies about the dangers of fraud and white collar crime during the holiday period. The article advises that the four major scams that Coface has noted across industries are related to company identity fraud: delivery of goods to a different delivery address, opening an account under a false but well-known company, changing banking details and extensive information gathering prior to a fraudulent bank transfer. To view the article go to http://www.itinews.co.za/companyview.aspx?cocategoryid=14&companyid=21895&itemid=C45BBA8B-F5D2-4FB2-B301-2FE1E22C6E22.

German credit insurers expect insolvencies to fall in 2014. Insurance Day has published an article, 'German credit insurers expect insolvencies to fall in 2014' which advises that German credit insurers expect the lowest number of insolvencies for almost two decades next year. To view go to https://www.insuranceday.com/losses/german-credit-insurers-expect-insolvencies-to-fall-in-2014.htm. (Subscription required, free trials available).

Leaders in Trade 2013 Awards. GTR has announced the winners of its Leaders in Trade 2013 Awards. Congratulations go to our readers at: BPL - Best trade credit and political risk insurance broker, AIG - Best trade credit insurance underwriter, ACE - Best political risk insurance underwriter and U.S. Exim - Best export credit agency. For a full list of the winners go to http://www.gtreview.com/trade-finance/global-trade-review-news/2013/December/GTR-Leaders-in-Trade-2013-results_11355.shtml.

Euler Hermes named Best Credit Insurance Provider 2013 in both the Middle East and Saudi Arabia. Congratulations to Euler Hermes GCC who have won the Capital Finance International (CFI.co) 2013 award for Best Credit Insurance Services and Solutions Provider in the Middle East, as well as the International Finance Magazine 2013 award for Best Credit Insurance Provider in Saudi Arabia. To view Euler Hermes' press release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-GCC-honored-with-two-best-provider-awards-in-the-GCC-.aspx.

Credit Insurance Reports
Maintaining sufficient cash flow: the biggest challenge that businesses in Asia-Pacific had to face in 2013. Atradius' November 2013 Payment Practices Barometer highlights that 33.6% of the respondents surveyed in the Asia Pacific region consider that maintaining sufficient cash flow levels is the biggest challenge they have had to face this year. This was most notable in Singapore where 36.8% of the respondents shared this opinion. In addition, approximately 30% of the total value of B2B invoices in the region were unpaid at the due date (rising to 35% in Singapore), with about 5% of invoices found to be uncollectable. To view Atradius' news release and link to the full report go to http://global.atradius.com/corporate/pressreleases/asia-pacific-businesses-financial-stability-challenged-by-cash-flow-in-2013.html.

​Euler Hermes survey finds that the profit margins of French small and medium-sized businesses have reached a 25 year low. Euler Hermes has advised that it has leveraged its 23 French regional offices to conduct a proprietary survey of 800 small-and-medium-sized businesses in the third quarter of 2013. The survey examines markets, investments and cash positions, and reports that profit margin levels represented the largest challenge faced by 88% of companies in 2013 - reaching an all-time 25 year low. Furthermore, for 2014, Euler Hermes forecasts +0.6% growth in France, with anaemic demand and competitive pricing pressures continuing to erode company profit margins. The Survey also advised that although 75% of companies have healthy cash reserves, only 20% plan to increase their investment spend in 2104. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-French-company-investment-spending-flat-despite-healthy-cash-positions.aspx.

Atradius advises that Turkey is one of the most prominent of the emerging markets. Atradius' latest Country Report for Turkey advises that Turkey has made impressive economic growth in the last decade which has exceeded the European average. In 2013, GDP growth of 3.4% is expected, rising to 4.5% in 2014 - although much depends on developments in the Eurozone. Payment performance is also improving, with the number of instances of bounced cheques (the most common form of B2B payment in Turkey) decreasing by 9.4% in the first ten months of 2012. To view the full report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/Turkey_December_2013.pdf.

Euler Hermes advises that a commercial construction industry recovery is expected to continue in the U.S.. According to Euler Hermes' latest U.S. Construction Industry Outlook, the U.S. construction industry is expected to maintain its rebound as the nation’s economy improves – but not without facing headwinds and at a slower pace. Summarising the key themes of the report, Kim Fleischer, author of the report and construction sector analyst at Euler Hermes, commented: “While our outlook for both the residential and commercial construction industries calls for sustained improvements through 2018, an economic downturn or a substantial rise in interest rates could imperil recovery and affect our conclusion.” To view Euler Hermes' news release and link to the full report go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Euler-Hermes-US-construction-industry-outlook-121013.aspx.

Atradius' forecasts that India's economic growth will increase again in 2014 - but will remain significantly below its long-term growth potential. Atradius' latest Country Report on India has advised that after high growth rates - above 8% - were recorded in India in 2009 and 2010, in 2012 GDP increased only 3.3% year-on-year with 4.6% expected in 2013. In addition, although, in 2014 economic growth is expected to increase again to 5.7%, this is still far below the 9% regarded as the long-term potential growth rate. Using weather symbol icons, Atradius predicts that the Indian automotive/transport, construction and construction material sectors have the poorest outlook. To view the report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/CountryReports/india_december2013.pdf.

Atradius reports that the performance of the food sector may reinforce perceptions, but some findings may "come as something of a surprise". Atradius has posted its latest Market Monitor focusing on the food sector's performance and outlook. The report looks in detail at the Food sector in Belgium, Brazil, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Poland and the U.S., and also provides a forecast of all industries performance (using weather symbols) per country. One of the 'surprises' noted by Atradius is that the U.S.: "often harshly characterised as the originator of ‘fast food’ outlets" is achieving notable success in the organic food sector. To view Atradius' Market Monitor go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Market%20monitor/2013/MM_Dec_2013_ENG.pdf.

Atradius reports a year of "modest improvement" for Brazil. Atradius has published its latest Country Report on Brazil and has advised that after a reduction in momentum to Brazil's economic growth in 2012 (0.9%), 2013 has been a year of modest improvement. For the whole year, GDP growth of 2.5-3% is predicted. Using a weather symbols system, the textiles sector has the bleakest outlook (poor), and chemicals/pharma, financial services food and machines/engineering have the brightest outlook (good). To view the full report go to http://www.atradius.co.uk/images/stories/CountryReports/Brazil_November_2013.pdf.

Atradius' latest Payment Practices Barometer shows that Australian businesses lead the way in offering credit terms to foreign business partners. The Barometer advises that Australian payment terms, at 22 days, are the shortest in the Asia-Pacific region, with manufacturing recording an average of just 21 days. The research also found that around 30.0% of the total value of domestic and foreign B2B invoices are overdue at their due date - although domestically 73.4% were paid within 30 days (internationally: 63.9%). Only 4% of domestic invoices were still unpaid after 90 days, but this figure rises to 6% of of foreign invoices - slightly above the Asia-Pacific average of 5.4%. To view the full report go to http://global.atradius.com/images/stories/Publications/payment_pratices/Round12/ppb12_nov-2013_australia-en.pdf#page=3.

Industry Events and Offers
Libya Trade & Infrastructure Finance Conference, 6 February 2014.
As the new Libya continues to overhaul its public institutions and private sector in preparation for full participation in the global economy, the international business community is increasingly taking note of the extensive opportunity offered by this key North African market, related to both its potential as a hub for regional trade and the huge investment needed to renew the country’s ailing infrastructure. The Libya Trade & Infrastructure Finance Conference will present a crystallised perspective of the opportunities on offer, providing delegates with a contemporary assessment of the rewards and risks posed by this newly liberalised economy. Bringing high-level networking opportunities, cutting edge content and a host of expert speakers together under one roof, the Libya Trade & Infrastructure Finance Conference constitutes an essential gathering for all those from the international trade and investment sectors seeking to gain the inside track on the high growth potential of this exciting business destination. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

10th Annual India Trade & Export Finance Conference, 12 February 2014.
Now in its 10th year and recognised as the conference of choice for the region’s trade finance community, this much anticipated annual gathering looks set to welcome over 250 high-level business leaders keen to discuss the most pertinent issues affecting both domestic and international players. Enjoying participation from companies of all sizes from all manner of sectors, the conference is a must attend event for anyone looking to do business with one of the world’s most burgeoning economies. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

The ICM British Credit Awards 2014, 12 February at The Brewery, London.
ICM British Credit Awards, the recognised standard in the credit and collections industry, take place on 12 February 2014 at the Brewery in London. The Awards bring a focus to the credit industry with awards covering the different aspects of credit from consumer and commercial lending to credit insurance, use of technology and business information. To book your place at this most prestigious event or to find out more, visit www.ICMBritishCreditAwards.com.

7th Annual Russia & CIS Trade & Export Finance Conference, 19 February 2014. Moscow.
GTR returns to Moscow for the 7th Annual Russia & CIS Trade & Export Finance Conference. Now established as the only place for key business leaders to meet to discuss the ever-changing trade landscape in Russia and the wider region, the event will draw on record attendance in 2013 to further highlight the huge opportunities within this lucrative market. As with all GTR conferences, networking is a central theme through the day. The conference delegation will consist of decision makers from corporate, banking and financial services organisations, making this an opportunity not to be missed for anyone looking to make new business contacts within the Russian market. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

5th Annual Global Export and Agency Finance 2014 Asia Pacific, 19-20 February 2014, Grand Hyatt Jakarta.
Now in its 5th annual event, we will once again gather over 300 senior representatives from the world’s most active and influential ECAs, multilaterals, financiers, legal firms and corporates to share their insights into the hottest topics surrounding the global, regional and local export and agency finance industries. For further information, please go to our website at www.euromoneyseminars.com/ECAAsia2014 or email to ashley.li@euromoneyasia.com.

Middle East Trade Finance Week 2014, 25-27 February 2014. Dubai.
Middle East Trade Finance Week 2014, incorporating the 11th Annual Middle East Trade & Export Finance Conference alongside various stream sessions, roundtables, workshops and networking events, will be taking place at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Dubai on February 25-27, 2014. As one of the longest-running and most established events on the MENA calendar, the event has built an unsurpassed reputation for bringing together all leading trade and export finance professionals under one roof. With over 350 delegates expected in attendance, including companies of all sizes and from all manner of sectors, the event is well placed to tackle the region’s trade and export priorities, with specific focus on various countries, projects and financing trends. For more information click here. A 15% discount is available for Credit Insurance News Digest readers, please quote CIN15.

Insuring Export Credit & Political Risk, 26–27 February 2014, London Hilton Tower Bridge.
Now in its 24th successive year, this is the leading industry event with over 300 senior attendees from 37 countries, supported by the Berne Union and ICISA. The conference will provide a unique opportunity to meet top executives from around the world and hear the very latest news and views. Our international speaker line-up features some of the most eminent names from the industry, including leading ECAs, Multilateral Organisations, Underwriters, Brokers, Banks, Exporters, Investors and Buyers. Registrations are now open. Simply call +44 (0) 20 7017 7790, email: kmregistration@informa.com, or book online here. Quote VIP code: FKW52676CRN for a 10% discount.

Credit Summit 2014, 3 April 2014. QE11 Conference Centre, London.
The UK’s largest credit show is growing. Creditors can look forward to even more cutting edge free content including the Trade Credit Conference, Insolvency Conference and training workshops. Including more than 40 exhibitors showcasing their latest innovations across the entire credit and collections market with over 500 delegates to share ideas and gain crucial market knowledge. Plus, back by popular demand, ex-chief economist of HSBC and renowned speaker Dennis Turner gives his latest insight into the UK economy and what the future has to hold for the UK credit industry. The FCA will be providing a timely comment on the transfer of consumer credit and how they will be supervising the consumer credit industry. All this is FREE to access for all credit professionals, just visit www.creditsummit.co.uk to find out more and to register for your place.

STECIS Trade Credit Insurance and Surety (BASIC & ADVANCED) Training Seminars, 10-11 April 2014 and 19-29 June 2014. The Hague, The Netherlands.
The STECIS training seminars are two-day events and are highly interactive. They cover technical and practical knowledge on Trade Credit Insurance and Surety Bonds, the theory of underwriting, in-depth analysis of industry developments, the terminology and the current market. In addition, participants are asked to review case studies. The BASIC training seminars are on 10-11 April 2014 and are open to participants with up to 3 years of work experience. The ADVANCED training seminars are set for 19-20 June 2014 and are suited to participants who have attended the basic training seminars and/or have at least 4 years of work experience. As the International Credit Insurance & Surety Association (ICISA) strongly endorses the STECIS training seminar programme, ICISA member companies receive a 5% discount on the total seminar fee. Companies (ICISA members and non-ICISA members) registering three or more participants to one training seminar, receive a 10% discount on the total seminar fee. For more information, please visit the website www.stecis.org or contact STECIS by sending an e-mail to info@stecis.org or call +31 20 528 5170.

Business Information: Recommended Reports and Business Shorts
Political risk insurance experiences dramatic growth. A new report, World Investment and Political Risk 2013, by the World Bank has advised of a dramatic increase in political risk insurance issuance: rising 33% in 2012 and on track for similar growth in 2013. In addition, the report notes that political risk insurance issuance has once again exceeded the pace of increase in FDI flows into developing economies over the same period. The report notes the ratio of FDI to PRI now stands at 14.2% for developing economies, a marked increase on the low-water mark of nearly 5% in 1997. To view a press release with links to the full report go to http://www.miga.org/news/index.cfm?aid=3605.

Insolvencies amongst the UK’s largest firms halve in October. The latest Business Insolvency Index from Experian has revealed that the UK’s largest companies saw the number of insolvencies in October halve compared to last year. This meant the insolvency rate for companies with 500 plus employees went from 0.20% to 0.08%, bringing it back in line with the UK average after several increases over the summer months. The year-on-year overall business insolvency rate for the UK remained stable in October 2013 at 0.08%, bringing the fourteenth month since insolvency rates last rose. To view Experian's news release go to http://press.experian.com/United-Kingdom/Press-Release/insolvencies%20amongst%20the%20uks%20largest%20firms%20halve%20in%20october.aspx.

CBI research shows that medium-sized businesses (MSBs) are the unsung heroes of the UK economy. Between March 2010 and March 2013, their total turnover increased by more than double that of other firms: 7%, compared with 3.2% for large companies and 2.9% overall. In addition, they generate 23% of total private sector revenue and their contribution to the UK economy is estimated to be over £300 billion GVA. This positive picture is reflected across many of the UK’s regions: for example, in the North East MSBs represent just 2.2% of businesses but generate 48% of private sector revenue, while in the East Midlands they represent 1.9% of businesses but generate 20% of revenue. To view the CBI's news release go to http://www.cbi.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2013/12/medium-sized-businesses-are-unsung-heroes-of-the-recovery/.

Vision-net.ie latest research shows a drop in Irish insolvencies and a growth in company start-ups. Vision-net.ie has advised that its latest Business Barometer, covering the period 1 January - 25 November, shows that Irish company insolvencies have dropped by 18% when compared to the same period in 2012. 1,433 companies were declared insolvent this year compared to 1,750 in 2012. The research also found that company start-ups in Ireland this year are up 9% on the same period in 2012 with over 14,000 new companies formed. The most popular industry for company start-ups this year is professional services which accounts for 26% of new companies. Wholesale and retail, social and personal services and IT are next on the list accounting for 11.5%, 9% and 8% respectively. To view Vision.net.ie's news release and link to the full Barometer go to http://www.vision-net.ie/barometer.jsp.

Dun & Bradstreet research reveals the UK Government is least likely to pay bills on time. New research from D&B has shown that the number of prompt payments the UK Government made to its suppliers decreased by nearly 3% (2.7%) in September 2013, and large businesses are over twice as likely to pay late compared to SMEs - despite the introduction of the Prompt Payment Code. This is putting increasing pressure on smaller suppliers and in some cases threatening their survival. However, while the Government’s payment performance has deteriorated, the D&B UK Quarterly Industry report reveals that all other UK sectors have improved payment times over the same period. To view D&B's news release go to http://www.dnb.co.uk/news/government-least-likely-to-pay-bills-on-time.

UK Manufacturing growth to outstrip the UK economy in 2014. According to a major survey published by EEF and BDO, Britain’s manufacturers will grow faster than the UK economy overall next year, with increasing confidence being reflected in recruitment and investment intentions. EEF is forecasting that the sector will grow by 2.7% in 2014 compared to 2.4% for the economy overall. Commenting, Tom Lawton, Head of Manufacturing at BDO, said: "Continued strong demand within the UK domestic market is very encouraging and this does suggest that a sustainable manufacturing recovery has gained a foothold in this country. However, international markets hold the key to a fully-fledged and meaningful improvement for in UK manufacturing and these markets remain frustratingly fragile." To view the full news release go to http://www.bdo.co.uk/news/manufacturing-outlook.

Chinese companies are thriving in the UK and making a significant contribution to the UK economy. According to the Grant Thornton 投英 Tou Ying 25 tracker, Chinese companies are making a heavyweight contribution to the UK economy and generated revenues of over £17 billion in 2012 - an increase of 27% on the previous year. The UK was the fourth most popular destination for Chinese outward investment in 2012 (second only to the U.S.), up from 21st place in 2010, at an estimated $2.77 billion, according to MOFCOM (China's Ministry of Commerce). At the same time, UK goods exports to China reached £10.5 billion in 2012, a 13% increase on the previous year, making it the UK’s seventh largest export market. To view Grant Thornton's news release go to http://www.grant-thornton.co.uk/en/Media-Centre/News/2013/Grant-Thornton--Tou-Ying-25-tracker-2013--tracking-the-UKs-fastest-growing-Chinese-companies/.

Polarisation in the retail sector suggests there will be casualties in Q1 2014. Although BDO's latest High Street Sales Tracker figures shows overall like-for-like high street sales in November grew 1.1%, Don Williams, National Head of Retail and Wholesale at BDO LLP, sounded a note of caution. "The high street remains polarised. The retailers with the products people want and the channels to supply them quickly can hold back on discounts and protect their margins . . . The rest may be forced to tactically discount in an attempt to get sales moving. With things so perilous, we expect to see a couple of casualties early next year." To view BDO's news release go to http://www.bdo.co.uk/press/cyber-monday-first-chapter-of-a-christmas-e-tail

UK Retailers: Who's UP/Who's DOWN
TURNAROUND PLAN SUCCESS: Thomas Cook has announced that although it has just begun, its turnaround has been a “great success” so far. Losses at the global travel agent more than halved to £207 million in the year to 30 September (from £590 million the previous year) and underlying EBIT for the year ended 30 September 2013 increased by 49% (£86 million) to £263 million. Harriet Green, Group Chief Executive, commented that the business is now on a firm trajectory of profitable growth and aims to cut costs by £440 million by 2015 - £40 million more than previously expected.
INCREASED MARKETSHARE: Topps Tiles, Britain's largest specialist tile retailer, has announced that trading in the year to 28 September has been stronger, resulting in its first rise in adjusted pre-tax profit since 2007 and an 1.5% increase to its marketshare (now 28.5%). Although revenues were flat at £177.8 million, adjusted pre-tax profits rose by 2.2% to £13 million. The retailer also advised that like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks of its new financial year were up 7.4%.
NO IMPROVEMENT: Tesco. Nearly two years into Tesco's £1 billion turnaround plan, there is still little sign of improvement. Over the last three months, the UK's largest grocery chain recorded  a 1.5% decrease in like-for-like sales, with sales down in both the UK and foreign markets. This comes just a short time after it was confirmed by Tesco in October that its profits were 23.5% lower in the first half of the year compared to 2012.
PROFITS DOWN: Mulberry, the luxury goods retailer, has reported a 28% dip in pre-tax profit for the six months ended 30 September 2013, citing the degree of discounting on the high street as the primary cause. The brand saw a small 2% rise in first-half revenue to £78.1 million and a rise in retail revenue of 6% to £49.5 million (4% on a like-for-like basis). Profit before tax of £7.2 million (2012: £10.0 million), reflected the cost of continued investment in international expansion - including a flag-ship store in Paris planned for 2014.
PROFITS DOWN: Carpetright, the flooring retailer, has blamed "volatile” trading conditions for a 33.3% fall to £3 million in pre-tax profits and a 2.2% drop to £222.2 million in revenue for the 26 weeks to 26 October. Although underlying operating profit in the UK rose by 5.8% to £5.5 million, its European arm (especially the Netherlands region) performed badly. recording a £1.4 million loss compared to a £200,000 profit last year.

Career Opportunities
Risk Underwriter (2 vacancies ), Euler Hermes, Manchester. Salary: Depending on experience plus excellent benefits.
This is a superb opportunity for two credit insurance professionals to work within our Euler Hermes Manchester team as Risk Underwriters. We are looking for candidates who are flexible, adaptable and excited by the challenge of working in a fast paced environment for the Market Leader in Credit Insurance. Requirements and key skills; for this role include a good understanding and knowledge of UK Risk Underwriting and/or credit management, experience of analysis of financial, economic and other information to assess credit risk. A demonstrable understanding and knowledge of the credit insurance market, EHUK's products and export underwriting, export risk assessment, export finance, political risk, export practice and export credit management would be advantageous. Candidates should be educated to degree standard (preferably in a business discipline). To view the full job description and apply go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/careers/Pages/job-search.aspx. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest)

Senior Risk Underwriter, London. £50,000+DOE.
This well known credit insurer based in the heart of the insurance district is looking to add to its growing, dynamic team of Risk Underwriters. The ethos within this firm is considerably different from the larger credit insurers and everyone is given the freedom to do their role to the best of their ability, whilst also given the development to truly empower them to make decisions. You'll be responsible for domestic buyers primarily, although if you have experience of foreign risk then you will also get involved in overseas buyers. As part of the role you'll be expected to meet with clients and buyers as well as getting involved in credit committees. To be considered you should have at least 3 years Risk Underwriting experience and a focus on excellent client service as this is important to them. For more information and/or to apply please contact Kerren Leach on 07940 403046 or email kerren.leach@reedglobal.com. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Global Account-Business Development Director, Singapore. Competitive salary plus benefits.
Euler Hermes, the world’s leading credit insurer with over 100 years of history and experience, is seeking a Global Account-Business Development Director in Singapore. Among the jobholder's key responsibilities will be to develop and execute a sales plan for Top 25 Asia Pacific based multinationals and accompany their sales extension wherever they trade, as well as to develop and proactively contact and visit Top 25 clients in order to identify their needs and crystallize solutions. The role also involves collecting necessary commercial underwriting information from the prospects, taking charge of the offer development process and negotiating with prospect/distribution partners. Requirements for the role include in-depth knowledge of credit insurance and financial solutions for multinational companies, with proven performance of developing B2B business in financial services industries. Excellent English is also a must. To view this role's full job description go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/careers/Pages/default.aspx(Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest)

Northern Europe Leadership Development Program, Euler Hermes. (5 new positions), Northern Europe.
Euler Hermes are offering an exciting new leadership development programme within Northern Europe Region which extends from the UK to Russia. The successful candidates will have the opportunity to build skills in the Commercial, Risk and Finance departments of our company. At the end of the programme there will be an opportunity to take on a challenging role in one of our Northern Europe companies. The programme will consist of three 6 month job rotations in each department in two different countries within Northern Europe. You will receive extensive training in sales, project management, risk management, and people management within each rotation. You will also have the opportunity to travel to our Group Headquarters in Paris to attend training. You will be involved in and support strategic projects at a local and/or regional level. Candidates should have a degree in a Business and/or Finance related discipline, be fluent in English and one other European language and have previous work experience - preferably in Financial Services, To view the full job description and apply please go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/careers/Pages/job-search.aspx. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Senior Credit Insurance Account Handler (Ref: DSCJ602), London, Kent. £27,000-£33,000 plus benefits.
A prestigious broker in the London area is seeking a professional candidate who has previous credit insurance experience. Responsibilities will include consultation on credit insurance, claims, probable losses, credit limits and policy issues, as well as assessing, adjusting and submitting claims to credit insurers – negotiation to settlement. The successful candidate will also meet with clients and insurers to discuss claims to achieve satisfactory settlement. This is a great company to work for with fantastic training, working environment and benefits. Only candidates who have previous specific experience of working within credit insurance will be considered. For more information contact Darren Stone Darren.stone@clarkjames.co.uk or call 01634 673156. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Transactional Cover Unit APAC Commercial Underwriter, World Agency. Singapore. Competitive salary plus benefits.
Euler Hermes, the world’s leading credit insurer with over 100 years of history and experience, is seeking a commercial underwriter to play a pivotal role in ensuring the development of Euler Hermes Transactional Cover Unit (TCU) business in the APAC region. He/she will be responsible for the relationship with the market (brokers/clients,) with the objective to support APAC clients and to develop Euler Hermes' regional book in coordination with the TCU management team based in Paris. In order to apply, candidates should have relevant experience in the APAC credit insurance or the political risk market (minimum 3 years) and be familiar with the APAC single risk/political risk market players and products (as broker, underwriter or client). To view this role's full job description go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/careers/Pages/default.aspx. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Country Manager Thailand, Bangkok. Competitive salary plus benefits.
Euler Hermes, the world’s leading credit insurer with over 100 years of history and experience, is seeking a Country Manager, Thailand. The jobholder's key responsibilities will be to develop and execute an annual and long-term business plan and budget for Thailand, as well as leading local business development activities with key business partners (e.g., brokers, fronters and banks); The requirement for this role include solid experience in B2B sales and marketing from insurance, banking or credit management industries and a strong track record of building sustainable and profitable business through managing a sales team. Direct experience in trade credit insurance is an advantage. The candidate must also be able to speak Thai. To view this role's full job description go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/careers/Pages/default.aspx.  (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Risk Underwriter - City - c£50,000 plus benefits/bonus - Ref: KL/211.
Ideally you will have 3-5 years risk underwriting experienced gained in the London Credit Insurance market. It would be useful if you had some export credit underwriting experience also,- although this is not essential. This is an exciting time for this first class underwriting agency and an opportunity for you to be going places with them. They have a strong customer centric approach to business which reflects in the high level of customer satisfaction and repeat business that they enjoy. Their setup affords an innovative approach, a quick and efficient service and value for money. This is a super opportunity for the right candidate. For more information email Kristina@novasearch.co.uk or call 07931-371990 or 0208-3937413. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Trade Credit Account Executive (Ref; 23582378). London. £35,000-£70,000 per annum, negotiable.
An opportunity which now exists within the growing Trade Credit team of a major UK broker. You will have specialised in the field of Trade Credit insurance and have a broker based client facing/servicing background. You might also have experience/knowledge of Political Risks business although this is by no means essential. Our client's accounts are corporate although they will also consider individuals with SME Trade Credit account experience. Salary will be dependent upon experience and what you have to "bring to the party". For more information go to http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/trade-credit-account-executive-london/23582378#/jobs/leslie-james-associates/p3230?keywords=credit%20insurance. If your background/experience genuinely matches this vacancy requirement, you should call Leslie James Recruitment directly on 020 7873 2271 to highlight your application. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

Structured Credit and Political Risks Account Handler (Ref: 23387236), London. £30,000 - £45,000 per annum, negotiable.
This is an opportunity which is available now with a leading London Market broker. The role will entail all aspects of the account handling of Structured Credit and Political Risks business. You will need to have had specific experience in the field of Structured Credit and Political Risks, be technically proficient and have good knowledge and relationships with insurers in the sector. Excellent training and prospects are available for the right candidate along with superb career prospects. For more information go to http://www.reed.co.uk/jobs/structured-credit-political-risks-account-handler-london/23387236#/jobs/leslie-james-associates/p3230?keywords=credit%20insurance. If your background/experience genuinely matches this vacancy requirement, you should call Leslie James Recruitment directly on 020 7873 2271 to highlight your application. (Please mention Credit Insurance News Digest).

New Appointments
Zurich announces a new senior addition to its Short Term Multi-Buyer Trade Credit Team. Zurich in North America has announced the appointment of Anthony Barrett as Senior Vice President, Head of Short Term Multi-Buyer Trade Credit Insurance (STMBTC). Zurich advises that the appointment of Barrett is: "a key component in Zurich’s efforts to enhance their prominent position in the non-cancellable, excess of loss STMBTC market". Barrett is based in New York City and reports to Anne Marie Thurber, Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Credit & Political Risk. To view Zurich's news release go to http://www.zurichna.com/zna/media/news-releases/current-releases/anthony-barrett1.htm.

Euler Hermes appoints commercial director of Euler Hermes UK and Ireland.​ Euler Hermes has announced that Melissa Dowle has been appointed commercial director of Euler Hermes UK and Ireland with responsibility for managing the three key distribution channels – brokers, direct, and banks – as well as for leading the marketing and commercial underwriting teams.

CIFS appoints Risk Underwriting Manager.​ Ian Selby has been appointed to the position of Risk Underwriting Manager. Ian joined CIFS in 2008 as a Risk Underwriter. In his new role he will assume organisational responsibility for an expanding risk underwriting team. A specialist in the construction sector, Selby will continue to service policyholders and brokers operating in this area. To view CIFS' news release go to http://creditindemnity.com/cifs-appoints-risk-underwriting-manager/.

Euler Hermes has appointed Antoine Chayban as country manager in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Kuwait. Based in Riyadh, Antoine Chayban reports to Massimo Falcioni, Euler Hermes GCC Countries CEO. Antoine Chayban has six years of experience with Euler Hermes GCC. He joined the company as a risk analyst; was promoted to business development manager and then to head of Distribution for Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. To view Euler Hermes' news release go to http://www.eulerhermes.com/mediacenter/news/Pages/Antoine-Chayban-country-manager-Kingdom-of-Saudi-Arabia-and-Kuwait.aspx.

About this issue's sponsor: S&P Capital IQ
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With S&P Capital IQ solutions, you can gain access to in-depth credit ratings and research from Standard & Poor’s, company information on more than 3.6 million companies, both public and private, including fundamental financial data for nearly 750,000 companies, and alerts on key developments and industry news. We also offer comprehensive cross-reference capabilities, terms & conditions data, credit scoring tools and more to help support your Solvency II requirements.

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Happy Christmas From Credit Insurance News
2013 has been a very exciting year for us! We are delighted to see that Credit Insurance News Digest has developed so quickly into such a popular publication and look forward to building on this success in 2014.

We are enormously grateful to our sponsors and to our advertisers without whom it would simply not be possible to produce the Digest. Particular thanks must go to Atradius, Bluefin, CIFS, CMR Insurance Services, Coface, Credit Risk Solutions, First Ram, Hanwell Atkinson, InfolinkGazette, Markel, Reed Global, S&P Capital IQ, Tinubu Square, UK Export Finance, W Denis.

We would like to wish all our readers a very happy holiday and look forward to catching up with you in 2014. Please look out for our next issue on 21 January 2014.

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