All posts tagged: export

Business agility is integral for survival

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Today’s business environment requires companies to become more agile and adapt to the growing list of challenges brought on by geopolitical and economic issues. Whilst external factors are generally out of company’s control, businesses need to find ways to become more competitive to survive and grow in such a climate. As we have seen, the COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions have changed industry trends globally, as well as consumer needs and market dynamics, and has forced companies to look inwards and find ways to optimize their systems and procedures.

How can companies become more agile?

Tips and tools to increase agility within an organization

For businesses to become more agile, a shift in thinking is required. Agility means companies regarding innovation, collaboration and forward-thinking as the core pillars. Strategies need to adapt to respond to market dynamics and emergent industry trends and team members should be empowered to take the lead. Here are some tips for companies to become more agile, and navigate through current and imminent challenges:

Change your business approach

Companies that have been in business for decades find it more difficult to adopt new technologies and change the way business is being done. Internal transformation may seem like a far-fetched and strenuous task. However, as global crises have shown, is that even the most lucrative businesses with a huge market share, can become obsolete if they do not adapt to consumer and market needs. Companies should reassess their industry and sector, as well as market presence, and understand what their customers need today and in the near future.

A shift in strategy then follows

Once a company understands the market dynamics and where value can be added, strategies need to shift. To effectively respond to these changes, a company first needs to look inwards at the roles and responsibilities of every department. Can the way business has been carried out be enhanced? Can a product be improved on? Does the service deliver customer value? Can what we offer, be found elsewhere? Once a new strategy is crafted, it needs to be regularly communicated with the team to gear them towards the same direction. Responsiveness and swift decision making capabilities are key for companies to become more agile.

Ensure innovation is a corporate commitment

Responding to a crisis and finding the tools to survive it, is one part of the challenge. The second part is to remain relevant and ahead of the competition. Therefore, innovation and continuous improvement should be at the core of every organization. Companies should set up innovation hubs and allow team members to share their ideas on how products and services can be improved. This step could even entail digitizing one part of your offering, to facilitate and enhance customer relations. Large organizations are teaming up with experts in different fields, to gain the experience and insights of ‘outsiders’ to improve their offering.

Doing more, with less: The 80/20 rule

Being agile means creating a value-driven model, and delivering products, services and solutions that provide the highest return on investment. If a certain offering, service or client profile or is draining your finances and resources, and exposing you to heightened risk, it should be assessed carefully. In some cases, eliminating it may result in higher profitability if strategies properly shift. Referring to the 80/20 rule, derive ways in which the 20% of the work put in, creates 80% of the value.

Find ways in which you could ultimately do more, with less. The stringent approach to cutting costs should apply, even when not in crisis mode. The roles and responsibilities of team members should adapt based on the new strategy laid out, and multidisciplinary teams should be created for expertise to be shared.  Team members should also understand their roles within the new setup and have targets to work towards.

Moving forward to become more agile

Becoming agile requires companies to honestly and openly look at their existent framework and offerings, and be open to change. Change should impact both the mindsets and strategies, as well as methodologies to reach new targets. As we have seen, unexpected events can send even the most resilient companies into crisis mode. Therefore, anticipating potential challenges and threats and adapting to them before they emerge, is advisable.

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LCI launches TAJER supporting SMEs, the main drivers of the MENA region’s economy

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TAJER: The simplified trade credit insurance policy helps support SMEs in their growth and expansion strategies

The Lebanese Credit Insurer (LCI) has launched TAJER, an innovative, simple and efficient credit insurance policy for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) operating across the MENA region, providing cover for their trade receivables. Utilizing LCI’s expansive market intelligence, including the active monitoring of 16,000 companies focusing on their payment behaviors, TAJER will aid SMEs in growing their businesses and ensuring they get paid for the goods and services they supply. 

“SMEs make up a major part of the MENA region’s economy, and in Lebanon, they comprise an estimated 80% of companies. Yet, only a small percentage of them are covered against the risks of non-payment,” said Karim Nasrallah, General Manager of LCI. “As such, we want to support them in their expansion into new markets and in growing their client portfolios. TAJER gives SMEs the confidence to look at new opportunities in their local markets and abroad, and focus on their growth,” he added.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has undergone a series of transformations in recent years, impacting the way businesses operate. LCI’s Risk Department market analysis shows that the risk of payment defaults is increasing, impacting the trade receivables of companies across the region. The highest risks in the market are impacting SMEs, rather than by bigger corporations, especially as they expand their market coverage and export to the different parts of the world – a move needed to optimize revenues and generate profits.

SMEs in Lebanon, as well as in most markets globally, employ the majority of the workforce, and play a major role in creating job opportunities. They are the institutions that fuel the economy. Lebanon is known to have one of the biggest densities of established business owners, not only in the MENA region, but even globally, based on official figures.

Seeing that there is a scarcity of available information (financial and other), the only way for credit insurers to underwrite risk is to conduct research via on-ground visits to companies, to understand, based on their sector experience, what is the potential opportunity and credit worthiness of each entity. Monitoring is also segmented by sector, trade size, company size and country location.

With TAJER, the straightforward and flexible insurance policy covering a company’s biggest asset, its trade receivables, many benefits will be offered which include:

  • Increase sales, by extending credit limits to existing clients and reconciling between the sales and risk departments
  • Manage risks, by accessing a large database of information and intelligence on thousands of companies
  • Be more competitive, by extending payment terms for new and existing clients
  • Protects against bad debt, by securing cash flow and optimizing financial planning
  • Achieve better borrowing from banks, turning trade receivables into good quality collaterals, allowing companies to negotiate better borrowing terms


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[Blog] How is the ongoing trade war impacting the MENA region?

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The trade war between the US and China has been making global headlines in recent months. The headlines then turned into action, with the US implementing a 25% tariff on Chinese exports, worth billions of US Dollars. China responded with a similar approach – and the trade imbalance between the two countries became even more evident.

The world’s two largest economies found themselves in a trade war, which many economists say, will negatively impact the GDP of both countries and will slow trade growth in the long-term.

However, as the world watches on as the two nations battle it out publicly, some experts are analyzing the potential impact of the trade war, on the Middle East. When it comes to the MENA region, whilst the trade war seems like a distant battle, repercussions are already surfacing.

Countries in the MENA region may be forced to take sides, fueling the trade war further. In addition, as the US and China advance further into their battle, they may adopt a protectionist approach, to safeguard their country’s industries. This will lead to a decreased demand for goods from Middle Eastern markets, such as the oil exports from the region into China.

The full extend of the trade war between the US and China is yet to be seen and felt. Let’s hope that an amicable solution is found, before the trade industry is disrupted completely.

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LCI and SACE sign cooperation agreement

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LCI and SACE have signed a cooperation agreement, to enhance trade opportunities between Lebanon and Italy by supporting SMEs. The expertise and know-how of both entities will be extended to SMEs, along with training programs and technical assistance offered to financial institutions and commercial banks, as result of this agreement.

SMEs make up the majority of business institutions in both Italy and Lebanon, employing a large proportion of the national workforce. Thus, supporting their growth and enhancing trade opportunities, through trade credit insurance and the sharing of expertise, contributes towards a more prosperous economy.

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LCI appoints Dominique Charpentier as its new Chairman

The Lebanese Credit Insurer (LCI), has appointed Dominque Charpentier as its new Chairman at its Annual General Meeting held in May, 2017.

Charpentier led a seasoned career with extensive experience in the realms of finance and credit insurance, having held senior financial positions in corporations, namely CFO of SCOA and PINAULT Groups and then moving on to become Deputy CEO of Société Marseillaise de Crédit. In 1995, Charpentier ventured into the Credit Insurance industry, within the Euler Group where he was successively Deputy CEO of Cobac Benelux, CEO of Société Française de Factoring and CEO of Eurofactor. In 2002, he moved to Atradius Group, assuming the role of Managing Director of several divisions of the Group: Atradius Factoring, Atradius Bonding, Atradius Instalment Credit Protection and Atradius Credit Insurance Italy.

He then joined the Management Board of Atradius as Chief Insurance Operations Officer in 2013.

Throughout his career, he held numerous Board member positions in professional organizations across Europe, of which: In France, as Director of Association des Sociétés Financières (ASF); in Belgium as Director of Beroep Vereniging van het Krediet (BVK), and on an international level as Director and Chairman of International Factors Group (IFG).

In January 2017, Charpentier retired, and now serves as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Graydon Holding NV in the Netherlands and has been newly appointed as the Chairman of LCI.

Charpentier graduated from Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris.

In his capacity as Chairman of LCI, Charpentier will bring his wide experience to support the company in implementing its growth strategy and in its development and expansion. Charpentier succeeds Gerard van Brakel who has been chairing LCI since it was founded in 2001.

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