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Export promotion: Forfaiting guarantee streng thens German exporters in international competition easier credit financing for "small tickets"
Federal export credit guarantees are a key instrument for strengthening German businesses abroad. The "Hermes" instrument for export credit guarantees protects companies against payment defaults and facilitates the financing of export transactions.
Past experience has shown that the offer in the "small ticket" sector is inadequate. "Small tickets" are transactions with an order value of up to €10 million. By introducing the forfaiting guarantee on 1 July 2023, this gap will now be closed.
How does a forfaiting guarantee work? As a first step, the German exporter grants its foreign buyer a supplier credit (with a payment term later than the delivery date). As a second step, the bank buys this receivable from the exporter (forfaiting) and thus provides the exporter with new liquidity. The Federation takes over the guarantee for this receivable vis-à-vis the bank, which means that in the event of the foreign buyer's insolvency the Federal Government would compensate the bank for 80% of the loss of receivables. This makes such small-scale hedging transactions much more attractive for banks and exporters.
Parliamentary State Secretary Dr Brantner (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action) said: "We are broadening our export promotion to make it easier for our companies to open up new markets and export their products to more countries. In doing so, we want to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises in a targeted manner and thus become more efficient and flexible when supporting our companies."
Parliamentary State Secretary Dr Toncar (Federal Ministry of Finance) said: "By introducing the forfaiting guarantee, the Federal Government is fulfilling the promise it made in the Coalition Agreement, to support small and medium-sized enterprises even more than before and provide Federal coverage for the financing of ’small tickets’. This will close a financing gap for transactions with order values of less than €10 million and thus help German SMEs in particular with their export business."
Coverage for loss of receivables and validity risk
The credit supply for “small tickets” in export financing is limited at the moment. Many banks consider the cost of carrying out checks to be disproportionate to the small credit volumes. In addition, in the past banks were hesitant when purchasing federally covered receivables because they were concerned that foreign customers might object to the purchased receivables, and that the receivables would not be legally valid. Since the purchase of receivables by banks provides exporters with considerable liquidity, the Federal government felt it had to address this problem and introduce the forfaiting guarantee.
The combination of supplier credit coverage and forfaiting guarantee now makes it possible to cover losses of receivables and validity risks. The validity risks are covered by the Federation to the extent of 80% via the forfaiting guarantee vis-à-vis the bank. 95% of the exporter’s actual loss of receivables is covered under the supplier credit guarantee.
Positive impact on balance sheet and credit line
The forfaiting guarantee offers various advantages to the exporter. The forfaiting guarantee enables the exporter to refinance its supplier credit. As a result, it can grant better payment terms to the foreign customer. It also strengthens its position in international competition.
Moreover, the forfaiting guarantee provides the exporter with more liquidity and relieves its credit line. At the moment, an exporter has to show the supplier credit as the amount of the outstanding receivables in his balance sheet. Thanks to the forfaiting guarantee, it receives immediate liquidity, can write off receivables, thus relieving its balance sheet and creating space in its credit line.
The forfaiting guarantee is offered in combination with supplier credit coverage only. The order value of the forfeited transactions is limited to €10 million. This means that SMEs in particular benefit from the new product, as their order volumes are mainly in the range of up to €10 million.
The forfaiting guarantee came into force on 1 July 2023 with a three-year pilot phase and will be evaluated by the Federation after this period.