How can I become a successful exporter

The foundations for successful exports ›› published on by Robert Prazak | A series on the subject of export, supported by the RLBOÖ Topic: Austria international: Chance Export

What is important in today's export business? In an interview, two experts from Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich provide the basis for financing successful export transactions.

“There are currently great prospects for exports,” says Wolfgang Aschenwald, Deputy Director of the Board of Raiffeisenlandesbank Upper Austria.

His bank supports exporters in the financing of export transactions, helps with the use of subsidies and generally sees itself as a point of contact for companies that see their focus on foreign business. "The order books of the industry are currently full, the challenge is currently more the availability in certain areas, for example with microchips", Aschenwald specifies the situation. The prospects for 2021 are therefore positive, even if the corona crisis is not over yet.

Generally speaking, Austrian exporters have good options. The Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB for short) has been commissioned by the republic to support the export economy by means of cheap refinancing and assumption of liability. As a fiduciary bank for OeKB, Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich handles these transactions. There are different ways of doing this:

  • Financing of ongoing working capital requirements through export fund loans for SMEs and control bank financing framework (KRR) for large companies. There is currently a special program for the corona crisis
  • Financing of investments abroad (equity financing) of investments abroad (equity financing)
  • Financing domestic investments (order or export investment; also possible via leasing)
  • Financing the buyer abroad, for example through the purchase of receivables.

But what is important when it comes to exporting? "It is important to contact your house bank in good time to discuss all the options - also with regard to payment transactions and currency hedging," says Aschenwald. Securing liquidity has top priority in difficult times, as companies have learned from the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

A golden rule in this context is financing in accordance with the deadline, which means financing long-term investments in the long term - this prevents you from falling into a liquidity bottleneck.

Approach your house bank in good time and discuss all options.

According to Aschenwald, two factors are currently particularly important when it comes to finances: Firstly, secure payment transactions. It is currently difficult to assess how the partner company or customer abroad is really doing. “There are many options for exporters, for example via letters of credit.” Second, currency hedging. "If you invoice in US dollars, it is important to know in the course of the delivery contract when payments are due - in order to hedge the foreign currency on this basis."

Siegfried Raml, who is responsible for export finance at Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich, adds: "The export investment instrument has proven its worth over the past few years - it enables domestic investments to be financed and secured." Now in the crisis, OeKB can use its special Covid- KRR also support the domestic export economy, says Raml. “There is still a free framework for this.” In addition to the above-mentioned funding from OeKB, there is also the internationalization guarantee from aws and a number of funding from the Chamber of Commerce and state funding. "We are doing very well compared to other countries," says Raml.

What else is important in export? The experts have further tips ready:

  • Operationally, it is important for any export business to know the customers and buyers. And those risks should be considered that do not have to be taken into account domestically - including the creditworthiness of foreign banks, foreign legal systems and so on
  • Open communication and the rapid transfer of information are important for OeKB and the house bank. “This enables us to respond quickly to changed framework conditions,” explains Wolfgang Aschenwald.
  • If the final negotiations with the companies abroad are already under way, it is too late to take care of the necessary financial framework. “Often companies are not even aware of how important this is,” says Raml.
  • Because of the corona crisis, there are no restrictions on the part of OeKB for exporters, but because of the travel restrictions. Personal contacts cannot be completely replaced by video and telephone conferences. "This can make it more difficult for sales employees of export companies to acquire new customers because the necessary relationships cannot be established in this way," warns Siegfried Raml.
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