All posts tagged: trade

The case of cash collections: How can companies mitigate bad debt?

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Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) around the world, often face issues with cash / debt collection, which can directly impact their working capital. Globally, debt collection is an integral process for every company to manage closely, to maintain healthy cash flows.

For SMEs, not getting paid on time can delay payments to employees, their suppliers and impact their credit facilities extended to new customers. Many companies are unaware that their trade receivables are actually their biggest asset, amounting to 45%.

How can companies collect cash on time? Tips below.

Get customers to pay on time

Encouraging customers to settle their payments on time can be a tricky task. One way to ensure that customers will pay on time is to run a background check on them, prior to any transaction. Trade credit insurance companies, with extensive monitoring and reporting services, can help you identify any red flags, prior to signing on a new client. These red flags can include customers with payment defaults, bounced checks or other financial issues. Credit insurers can also help set the appropriate limits for new customers, to ensure that the company is not overexposed in terms of risk.

Trade credit insurance companies, with extensive monitoring and reporting services, can help you identify any red flags, prior to signing on a new client.

Simplify the payment process

Companies need to have simplified methods for customers to settle payments. Whether electronic credit transfers or bank to bank debits, put in place simple methods for payments to be made. Checks may also be a convenient route for some customers, depending on their country of operation.

The geographical location of each customer should be kept in mind, as it may impact payment methods and settlement times.

Be proactive in managing debt collection

Ensuring the proper invoicing procedures, payment terms and methods are clear to customers, can help facilitate cash collections. Having an overview of each customer, to track the payments that are due, helps SMEs mitigate bad debt. Monthly reporting on the status of accounts and payments is also useful, and delays can be addressed with a friendly email at first, requesting payments to be settled.

One recommendation is to have a centralized credit and collections management team and software, to be able to track all pending invoices.

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Strengthening partnerships in Egypt

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LCI’s General Manager discusses innovation in trade receivables management

LCI took part in the official conference hosted by GIG Egypt and the Ministry of Trade and Industry in March, 2019. The aim of the conference is to strengthen investment and collaboration opportunities between Egypt and Syria. LCI’s General Manager, Karim Nasrallah, shed light on the innovation in trade receivables management, to drive trade globally.

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Digitization will impact the trade industry

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Every day, fleets of huge ships dock in ports over the world and every hour, a plane carrying cargo lands, in one country or another. With every docking and landing, a stack of paperwork will need to be processed. Whilst this practice has been the standard process adopted by governments and countries for decades, the cost of processing trade documents still remains high.

Based on figures released by the World Economic Forum, the cost of processing the paperwork for shipped goods, can reach as much as one fifth of the cost of shipping the actual goods. Many institutions, including banks and technology companies, are trying to streamline this process, as the benefits are numerous. Experts indicate that simplifying the administrative procedures can actually lead to notable growth in international trade.

Apps, technological innovation & block chain solutions are simplifying procedures of shipping goods.

In comes digitization, which is already underway in the trade sector. Apps, projects, technological innovation and even block chain solutions are simplifying the once complex administrative procedures of shipping goods. Electronic-based documentation lowers costs, simplifies workflow, and takes up less time in terms of analysis and storing. Depending on the electronic documents along with the use of standardized ID numbers for transactions, traders can benefit from a smoother process, expand to new markets and deal with new clients, with less requirements when it comes to due diligence, collecting and tracking credit, performance and commercial dispute data.

The advantages of digitizing the trade sector are clear, but will governments and private institutions move fast enough?

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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

 

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