Trade Financing from Asia

An Expert's View about Banking Industry in Hong Kong SAR

Posted on: 27 Oct 2011

International trading needs International banking. When banks in some areas of the world are tightening their lending regulations, choose an area of the world where lending is easier!!

Meridian Partners Trade Financing 2011 Meridian Partners Limited About Us Meridian Partners provides you with the legal requirements of a registered office address in Hong Kong, a corporate secretary, telephone, fax and mailing services. Our professionals are also able to handle your company's accounting, audit and tax filing as well as trade documentation, shipping and daily banking activities. Director June Ko more than 12 years of supply chain management and trade advisory experience. June?s experience include international trade advisory, logistics documentation for various industries and countries and supplier / buyer negotiations. June is known for determining the most cost and time effective supply chain solutions for importers and exporters worldwide. Common Selling Terms A) Open Account / Credit Basis l?? There is increasing popularity for your clients and buyers to request for harsher payment terms, and you are faced with: l?? E.g.. 30-90 days open account terms. B) Letter of Credit: ?? Although Letter of Credit has been very commonly used for the past decades in supply chain, the popularity of its use is gradually diminishing due to the challenges that are depicted below. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Common Selling Terms con?t C) % Deposit and balance upon shipment l?? the most preferred by seller but difficult to be agreed upon by buyer. l?? not competitive in comparison to Open Account, and affect orders received. D) Document against acceptance (D/A) l?? Via banks l?? Can be less favourable to other terms such as Open Account, where there is credit for the buyer. E) Document against Payment (D/P) l?? Via banks 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Common Buying Terms 1. % deposit + balance upon shipment 2. Letter of Credit 3. Open Account / Credit Basis 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Challenges for Buyers Major challenges faced by Buyers (importers) everyday: l?? Get more purchase orders!! l?? Customer pressure to offer extended credit terms l?? Not enough cash to pay factories for order production l?? Speed up cash flow l?? Offer attractive payment terms to quality factories to ensure timely product delivery. l?? Enhance profit margin l?? Effective tax planning 2011 Meridian Partners Limited O Challenges for Buyers Possible Solutions: ?? Set up new virtual or physical trading company in Hong Kong to carry out import/ export trading activities ?? With virtual company in Hong Kong, you can: ?? Route through all trade transactions via the company without hiring staff or renting physical office as all back office works are outsourced ?? Production efficiency as the HK company and factories work in the same time zone and speak same language ?? Enjoy low corporate profit tax rate of 16.5% maximum (one of the lowest in the world) ?? Have your own Asian operations and sell on FOB basis ?? For new HK company, it is generally difficult to obtain bank financing ?? Only a few commercial finance companies in the marketplace finance start-ups by means of offering factoring service (i.e. accounts receivable financing and collection service) 2011 Meridian Partners Limited O Challenges for Buyers Possible Solutions: ?? With 2-3 years operating history and proper financial management, the HK company can apply for credit/trade finance facilities with most retail banks in HK ?? To speed up cash flow, the following credit/trade finance facilities can be applied through banks or financial institutions. Purchase order financing Purchase order financing (or PO Funding) is a short-term commercial finance option that provides capital to pay suppliers upfront so your company doesn?t have to deplete cash reserves. A business has a solid purchase order ready to fulfill, but not the funds to pay its suppliers upfront; nor is the bank willing to extend the amount of credit that would be required. Purchase order financing is designed for growing businesses with little access to working capital and/or poor cash flow. The type of business that qualifies is usually a producer, distributor, wholesaler or reseller of manufactured products. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited O Challenges for Buyers Letter of Credit A letter of credit is a promise to pay. Banks issue letters of credit as a way to ensure sellers that they will get paid as long as they do what they've agreed to do. Letters of credit are common in international trade because the bank acts as an uninterested party between buyer and seller. For example, importers and exporters might use letters of credit to protect themselves. In addition, communication can be difficult across thousands of miles and different time zones. A letter of credit spells out the details so that everybody's on the same page. Overdraft An overdraft occurs when money is withdrawn from a bank account and the available balance goes below zero. In this situation the account is said to be "overdrawn". If there is a prior agreement with the account provider for an overdraft, and the amount overdrawn is within the authorized overdraft limit, then interest is normally charged at the agreed rate. If the negative balance exceeds the agreed terms, then additional fees may be charged and higher interest rates may apply. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited O Challenges for Buyers Document Against Acceptance Documents against acceptance are official documents that are used to authorize the presentation of a payout on a pending order. In exchange, the recipient of the payment is instructed to surrender any documents relevant to the title and shipping of the purchased items to the buyer. This process, sometimes known as a documentary collection, is often used as part of the import and export trade, with the bank for the buyer providing payment and the bank for the seller reciprocating with the release of a document of title and other key documents related to the transaction. The general process of documents against acceptance, or D/A, is designed to allow for the orderly transfer of ownership from the seller to the buyer. This is especially important when the goods in question are being purchased from an international seller. In this scenario, the exporter issues a bill of exchange or a draft that the importer must accept and sign in order to move the transaction closer to completion. This action effectively makes it possible for the funds related to the sale to be transferred to the exporter. At that point in the process, the relevant documents that confirm ownership are released to the importer, providing him or her of legal proof that the purchased item is paid in full and is now the sole property of the buyer. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited O Challenges for Buyers Documents against Payment A terms of payment arrangement in which an exporter entrusts the ownership documents of an asset to his/her bank, which then presents them to an importer only after the bank has received payment for the asset. Essentially, the bank holds hostage the ownership documents, which the importer needs to take possession of the merchandise, until the bank, and, by extension, the exporter, are paid. A risk for the exporter is the possibility that the importer will refuse to pay, and, while he/she will not be able to take possession of the merchandise, the exporter has little legal recourse. The terms of this agreement are set between the importer and exporter at the time of the sale. Term loan A loan from a bank for a specific amount that has a specified repayment schedule and a floating/fixed interest rate. Term loans almost always mature between one and 10 years. For example many banks have term-loan programs that can offer small businesses the cash they need to operate from month to month. Often a small business will use the cash from a term loan to purchase fixed assets such as equipment used in its production process. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited O Challenges for Buyers Factoring Accounts receivable lenders and factoring companies specialize in financing growing businesses. Lending on accounts receivable is the advancing of funds against your accounts receivable. Accounts receivable lending is not a loan, it?s an advance or purchase of your receivables, so there?s no need to make payments or create debt to your business. When you receive an accounts receivable loan, the lender uses your company?s accounts receivable as collateral. You then repay the loan as your customers pay their payables. ??Factoring, i.e. credit insurance and collection service, can greatly reduce your risk in the event of customer?s financial default and expedite cash flow ??Company can enjoy the benefit of multi-banking environment in HK, driving bank charges and interest rate to a very competitive level. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Financiers in HK 1. Banks l?? Hong Kong banks generally require company having at least 3 years of operating history for credit line application. l?? The company needs to be profitable, proven with healthy financial statements, and a good capital base. l?? Suitable for companies that have been operating profitably for a few years and have sound trade record. *CHALLENGE* l?? Find the right person at the bank to talk to! l?? Require collaterals such as cash deposits or real estate property l?? Negotiate with financiers for the right credit structure in place and to get the best deal. l?? Could be less flexible for SME?s 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Financiers in HK cont ? 2 Commercial Finance Company l?? A few players in HK: EOS, Fortis, CIT, Capital Factor l?? Services range from factoring, accounts receivable financing, draft financing *CHALLENGE * l?? To find the right partner that understands your business needs and provide suitable solutions. l?? To negotiate with financiers to have the right credit structure in place and get the best deal. 3 Finance Company l?? Some provides second mortgage against real estate property. *CHALLENGE* l?? very high interest rate 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Tips to get trade financing / cashflow solutions in Hong Kong ?? Work with trustworthy, knowledgeable local partner who is very familiar with the HK banking system, has good connections with financiers, possesses international trade experience and strong trade finance knowledge ?? Need to have proper financial planning for the HK company to qualify for bank / third party financing ? sounds complex but in fact simple! 2011 Meridian Partners Limited General Comments Each company differs in terms of industry, trading patterns, financial status, trade records, customer markets, supplier markets and management styles. As such, each company requires customized trade financing and back office solutions. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Success Story Toyco Limited Background ?? A 5 years old UK based toy importer ?? Engaged in the design, development & trading of toys ?? All products are sourced from China on T/T basis (deposit + balance payment prior to shipment) ?? Sales are made to mass merchandisers, chain stores and small to medium sized retailers ?? Selling terms: 30 days open account Issues ?? Increasing customer pressure to buy on FOB Asia ?? Increasing customer pressure to offer credit terms ?? Improve profit margin ?? Enhance tax savings In Jan 2010, Toyco approached MP for solutions. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Jan 2010 ?? MP had several meetings with Toyco management. ?? Following services were proposed: 1.? set up a new virtual HK trading company known as Toyco HK Limited. 2.? MP provided nominee shareholders & directors but the HK company is beneficially owned by Toyco owners. 3.? MP provides full trade services ranging from international trade flow advisory, import/ export documents preparation & management, liaison with buyer/seller/forwarder/ bank, monitoring customer payment and process payment to factories. 4.? Full back office support is also provided ? corporate services, accounting, auditing, tax filing, financial planning & banking solutions. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited July 2010: Two trade models were created: 1.? - End customer places order to Toyco HK on FOB basis. Selling terms 30-day open account. - Toyco HK in turn places purchase order to China factory. 30% deposit, balance upon shipment. 2.?- End customer places order to Toyco UK, 30-day open account. - Toyco UK in turns places order with Toyco HK on T/T basis which then places order with China factory, 30% deposit & balance at shipment. August 2010: Toyco Inc. accepted MP proposal. May 2011: - Toyco HK looking for banking facilities in HK ? LC issuance; discount factoring and overdraft. - MP assisted in identifying the right bank and negotiate the right credit structure 2011 Meridian Partners Limited June - July 2011: ?? MP approached several banks. Identified 3. ?? MP had numerous discussions with the banks covering: ?? provide bank with business background, management & financial information of Toyco HK ?? structure credit facilities ?? negotiate pricing; collateral; terms & conditions; facility size, etc. August 2011: ?? 2 banks offered credit facilities with similar structure: ?? Total line of credit: USD 1 million; available for: ?? USD 500K - LC issuance line ?? USD 200K - OD line ?? USD 1 million - discounting factoring line ?? Collateral / support: USD 150K cash deposit; owner?s personal guarantee. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Benefits of the whole structure: 1. ability to offer FOB Asia selling terms to attract more business. 2. tax minimization due to offshore tax arrangement. 3. customer perception of dealing with a true Asian supplier. 4. flexibility ? virtual office hence no need to rent office space or hire employees locally. Got a professional team of staff managing all aspects. 5. accessibility to capital & lower bank charges ? HK co. enjoys multi-banking relationship unlike single-banking environment in North America. As a result, interest rate and bank fees are generally lower in HK due to market competition. 6. MP can provide trade finance, banking and financial advisory to assist company in expanding its international business. 7. Having a HK company enables business owners to get closer to China. It paves the way to sell into China in due course, one of the largest consumer markets in the world. 2011 Meridian Partners Limited 2011 Meridian Partners Limited 2011 Meridian Partners Limited Thank you for your time! Q & A For further questions, please contact: Ms. June Ko, Director Tel: +852 3487 0783 Mobile: +852 6132 4533 Email: jwk@meridianp.com 2011 Meridian Partners Limited
Posted: 27 October 2011

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