UK Export Finance support to British exporters at 12-year high

British businesses received £4.3 billion worth of support from the Government through UK Export Finance (UKEF) in 2012-13, up from £2.3 billion in the previous year, and the highest in 12 years.

UKEF is the UK’s export credit agency. Its £4.3 billion of support for exports is the highest since 2000-01. Support has been provided for companies of all sizes, from the very smallest micro-firms to large corporations. This includes thousands of SMEs who have benefited indirectly through the supply chains of large customers supported by UKEF.

Acting Chief Executive, David Havelock, says the full range of products now available from UKEF enables us to support the financial needs of all sizes of exporters from large multinational customers through to SMEs: “This is in addition to the huge number of smaller companies who benefit indirectly through the supply chains of our major customers like Airbus, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce.”

Building on the success of the past 12 months, UKEF has recently confirmed its largest ever Project Financing transaction to support a prestigious project in the Middle East, in partnership with other export credit agencies. Details will be announced later this week.

The aerospace industry was a significant beneficiary of export credit guarantees in 2012-13, with UKEF providing £1.83 billion of support, illustrating the UK’s strength as a global leader in aerospace.

To further boost exports by SMEs, the Government committed at Autumn Statement last year £1.5 billion to allow UKEF to launch a direct lending scheme, enabling it to support export loans to buyers of UK goods and services where funding is not available from the banks. This will be the first time in UKEF’s history it has been able to offer such support. The government also increased the budget for UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and set out an ambitious package of support designed to get more SMEs exporting.

In 2011 UKEF introduced new short-term products and enhanced its insurance product to assist exporters, particularly SMEs, overcome bonding and working capital constraints and get credit insurance when not available from the private market. In 2012-13 these assisted 66 exporters including 49 small and medium sized businesses, helping them win contracts worth over £500 million.

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